If you’re a business owner or employee… please read this

Business owners would probably agree that they work harder than anyone else to create something rather special and unique, and as it usually means employing others to help run it, their Will (and any other planning options they may wish to consider) will be of the utmost importance to everyone involved.

Priority should be given to ensure the business continues to support the family and the job security of its employees.

If you are a sole trader, the value of your business is part of your personal estate and will naturally be part of your Will.

If you own shares in a limited company, the value of the business is represented in the shares that you own and can be dealt with by your Will, however in certain circumstances the company?s Articles of Association will dictate what happens to the shares after the death of the shareholder.

If you are in a partnership without a partnership agreement, it will be dissolved by law when one of the partners dies. If you have a partnership agreement in place it will state what happens so it is equally important to get one of these in place.

In any event, the business owner should also put in place a continuity/succession plan, i.e. ?a what happens if?? in other words who would sign the cheques, run the payroll, order in new materials and ensure jobs are completed on time, invoice them and collect the money? The value of a business can quickly plummet without a plan in place. If the deceased was able to intervene ?after death? to prevent this, he or she clearly would! After all, it is everything they have worked for in life.

Similarly, if a business owner was incapacitated through a heart attack, car accident and so on, what would happen to the business tomorrow? All business owners should of course put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney document so that their business affairs can continue to be dealt with if they cannot do it themselves. Taking out key man insurance, relevant life assurance cover and critical illness cover should all be high on the priority list when the business can afford it. Perhaps this should actually be given a higher priority to address the risk early on.

There are many cheap ways to set a Will up, but the question is will your circumstances fit into a template? Might it be better to put something more bespoke in place? If it is the latter, why not consider talking to us first, we are here to help and can advise you. We understand business! Please contact us now.

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