Wills are often thought of for children, family and loved ones, but if you own a business, what about staff, stakeholders and customers? Kathryn Loveland-Blockley, a specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning at Dutton Gregory Solicitors looks at what business owners need to consider when making a Will.
- Shareholders or Partnership Agreements
This document should stipulate what happens when a shareholder or partner dies. It may be linked to insurance products and “cross-option agreements” dictating who should be first in line to buy shares on one of the owner’s deaths. Provisions in Memorandums and Articles of Association should also be reviewed to ensure a Will does not cause conflict and complication.
- How much is your business (or its assets) worth?
For Inheritance Tax purposes, is it covered by “Business Property Relief”? There are various tax positions depending on the beneficiary, but a Will can be drafted to ensure a business continues whilst keeping tax benefits for the family.
- Succession Planning
Can a shareholding be passed on without changing the directorship/running of the
business or do appointments need to be made in your lifetime?
Legacies can be left to loyal, long-serving members of staff.
- Does your beneficiary want the business?
Failure to plan could be disastrous! People left in charge could cause conflict, lack skills or be utterly disinterested, rendering a business worthless.