Three Major things every business owner must know…


Do you own a business or does someone in your family or a close friend own a business? Please feel free to share this with them.
Chances are there are three things they have neglected to take care of… these three things can have a hugely detrimental effect on the business owner, their livelihood and the future livelihood of their spouses/civil partners and children.
1. Write a corporate will – leaving the assets of the business to a carefully constructed trust – this will ensure that the spouse / civil partner and children of the business owner benefit whilst protecting the assets from attack from future divorce, marriage after death, Bankruptcy and creditors and future care costs. Make sure the will contains clauses to protect the assets of the business from unnecessary Inheritance Tax. Some assets qualify for between 50% and 100% Business Relief from Inheritance Tax – make sure you dome miss out on this.
2. A Business Lasting Power of Attorney  (LPAs) allow the donor (the business owner) to appoint a suitable attorney to make decisions concerning their business interests when they are unavailable or lack mental capacity. For instance, if one of the bank account signatories lacks capacity the bank can freeze the account to protect the now vulnerable adult. If there is an overdraft, the possibility of the bank freezing the account is greater.

LPAs for business

As a business owner, it’s important to consider what would happen to your business if you were unable to make decisions. This may be if:

  • you were abroad on holiday or for business
  • you were to have an accident
  • you were to have a medical condition that incapacitated you

In such circumstances, who will authorise the payment of bills, sign cheques, service a business loan or pay salaries? Don’t assume that a family member or a business colleague will gain the authority to make these decisions on your behalf – this assumption could leave your business exposed to risk.

To protect your interests, and those of your business, you should consider making a business LPA.

What happens if I don’t make a business LPA?

If you’re unable to make business decisions in the future, and have not made a business LPA, it may become necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy to act on your behalf.  The process can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee that the Court of Protection will choose someone you would have chosen.  It could also take more than six months before a deputy is appointed, during which time your business may be vulnerable and at risk.

To avoid disruption, it should be part of any business owner’s continuity plan and crisis management strategy to consider making a business LPA.

3. Shareholder Agreement / Shareholder Protection

What should be included in a shareholders’ agreement?

Issuing shares and transferring shares– including provisions to prevent unwanted third parties acquiring shares, what happens to shares on the death of a shareholder and how a shareholder can sell shares.

  • Providing some protection to holders of less than 50% of the shares – including requiring certain decisions to be agreed by all shareholders.
  • Paying dividends.
  • Running the company – including appointing, removing and paying directors, frequency of board meetings, deciding on the company’s business, making large capital outlays, providing management information to shareholders, banking arrangements and financing the company.
  • Competition restrictions.
  • Dispute resolution procedures.

Regardless of the industry you operate in, it’s critical to ensure that you protect your business with a safety net. After all, it represents not only the livelihood of you and your family, but also that of your employees and fellow stakeholders.

One of the most damaging events a business can fall victim to is the death of a major stakeholder.  Should a business owner die unexpectedly the event can have a serious impact on their enterprise, not to mention the shareholder’s family.

When it comes to distributing shares, family members and other beneficiaries may prefer to cash them in. Meanwhile other shareholders may wish to purchase the shares but may not have adequate funds at their disposal. This is where shareholder protection comes in extremely useful.

If your reading this and you already have such strategies in place then congratulations – however there were certain changes to the 2013 Finance Act which could have a detrimental affect of the value of the Shareholder Protection cover you have in-place – causing it to the potentially taxed on payout by up to 40%. 

If you need help or advice or help with any of the above please apply today.

“It’s never too early – but it’s often too late!!!”


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