Business Protection and Succession Planning

If you’re a business owner, our Wills and Probate solicitors can help you to protect your business and plan for the future.

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Our lawyers are commercially minded and can produce a Will tailor-made to your business needs. This can be done in conjunction with our commercial team who will assist you to formulate a viable strategic plan for the future of your business.

Wills and LPAs for business owners

Business owners have additional concerns when coming up to retirement about how their business will be sustained after they have stepped down, lost their capacity to run financial matters or passed away. Even the most successful business owner and manager will need to step aside at some point to allow the business to continue under someone else’s’ steerage. This is where we can help.

We can put the necessary tools in place to safeguard your business and ensure a smooth succession. This includes writing a Will that outlines your wishes, including who should inherit your shares in the business. A Lasting Power of Attorney can also be drawn up, confirming who should make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to make them for yourself.

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Things to consider

The nature of the business, whether it be as a sole trader, limited company, partnership or limited liability partnership, will need to be carefully reviewed. This is to ensure that the documents governing the transition and succession do not conflict with the terms of a Will or Power of Attorney. Successful transitions need careful planning.

Rights issues and mergers can alter the balance of power and value of any shareholding. When these shares are added to those already held by a family member by virtue of the terms of a Will, family discord can block proper management of the business. Those who feel they have the knowledge and expertise to run the business can be left feeling that they are working for their brother or sister and to their financial benefit, not their own.

A Will can provide for the appointment of professional Executors and Trustees, such as the business accountant or solicitor, who already know the workings of the business. Companies created before 1 October 2009 with a sole director and shareholder need to ensure that the bank account does not become locked, otherwise salaries and suppliers will not be paid. Special powers will need to be given to the Executors and Trustees to enable them to run the business during the administration period.

Business property relief

Business Property Relief takes a trading business out of the charge to Inheritance Tax. However, not all trading companies qualify, if they additionally hold a number of investment properties. Investments need to be separated from trading stock and placed in an investment company, so as not to block the trading company from qualifying for this useful tax relief. You cannot hide a bank balance of a million pounds in a company, in the hope that it will be passed on without Inheritance Tax, if that money is in excess of that which is required to trade.

Get expert legal help

As we say at Aticus Law, the future is ours to create - nobody can predict the future, but we can be prepared for it. This is especially important for business owners, who need to align their wishes, business interests and succession plans, all while minimising any potential conflicts. We can help you achieve this.

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Call or email us in order for us to discuss in greater detail how our solicitors can move your case forward today.

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