Struggles of large family-run conglomerates without any prior estate tax arrangement in South Korea:

When Lee Kun-hee (the 77-year-old chairman of Samsung Electronics Co.) dies, his heirs will face an estate tax of almost $7 billion, and paying it may complicate the family’s control of the Samsung conglomerate. Lee’s net worth is about $15 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and his beneficiaries would likely have to sell some of the inheritance to cover the tax—diluting their stake in Samsung.

South Korea’s levy of 50% on estates of more than $2.5 million is the second-highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, after Japan.

The Samsung empire includes 62 companies valued at more than $300 billion. Although Lee owns large chunks of some of the businesses—including 4.2% of Samsung Electronics—they’re not big enough to give him control of the conglomerate.

“The family is dragging their feet over what to do with his wealth and shares,” says Chung Sun-sup, chief executive officer of business researcher