Business Protection – introduction

Protecting your business in the event of your death or critical illness

As a business owner what steps have your business partners and you taken to protect your business and your respective families in the event of your death or critical illness or mental/physical incapacity?

Without the full and proper protection in place, you are leaving your business and your family exposed not only to the taxman but also to potential financial disaster.

Your business could be forced to close

Because:

  • It is unable to find sufficient funds to buy back a partner’s shares from their family;
  • You are in a partnership and there is no Partnership Agreement in place;
  • You are unable to make decisions or sign relevant documents due to critical illness or mental/physical incapacity.

You could lose control of the business

Because:

  • The partner’s shares have passed to their family members who now want to be involved in running your business despite your wishes to the contrary;
  • The partner’s shares have passed to their family and they want to sell them to a competitor for a higher price than you can afford to pay.

Your family could receive an unfair value of your business

Because:

  • There is no agreement in place to determine the business/share value or on what basis the shares are valued so the company could offer less than market value to your family;
  • The company has insufficient funds to pay your family the true market value of the shares;
  • The value of the business falls due to your critical illness or mental/physical incapacity.

Your family could pay unnecessary tax to the taxman

Because:

  • Where the transaction of shares is mandated on death (as is usual within an off-the-shelf Articles of Association or a binding agreement), then such business assets will no longer be eligible for ‘Business Property Relief’ (BPR) and are therefore included in the taxable estate;
  • Whoever the shares are left to, if your beneficiary then sells those shares, the benefit of any BPR will be lost on their subsequent death.

Business Succession Planning

With the correct business succession planning and the relevant documentation in place you, your family, your business and your business partners can be safe in the knowledge that the scenarios highlighted above will never happen.  Cornerstone Wills can achieve this for you by drafting one or more of the following documents: