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Wills in relation to business owners


If you are a sole trader, partner or director in a business, think about what if something serious happened to you and you died, what would you like to happen in respect of your business?


Some of the issues are the same as if something happened, but you are still alive.  Will the business continue?  How will it continue?  Is it to be sold?  Does it need to be sold to particular people or can it be sold on the open market?  How will the value be maximised?


The next thing to do is look at your business agreement and see what, if anything it says about those circumstances, as there may already be a clause covering those circumstances.  If there isn’t a clause or if you don’t like what it says, the next thing to do is talk to your partners / directors and discuss changing the agreement, if that is possible.


Think about the dynamics of the people who are left behind, do they get on and will they work together to achieve the outcome that you want?  Families often row and after the death of a family member can be a time when small niggles become full blown knock down fights!


You can put a clause in your Will in relation to any business assets that you own.  Wills are for individuals and the financial assets that they own at the date of their death.  You will need to consider whether the clause in your Will is going to work in relation to your business agreement.  You should think very carefully about who you appoint as your Executor and can they delegate the running of your business or will they run it themselves.  Are you essential for the business, so without you it will collapse?  Whatever the situation is currently, do you want that situation to be in place if you were to die tomorrow, if not, then you should consider what changes need to take place to ensure that your business is in a robust condition.


After you have gone, you need to think about how those who survive you will manage, such as, does your spouse / partner need the income from the business?


One very important step to take is to have a conversation with your family about what you want to happen.  They will always be upset, but it can be very helpful in their grieving process to know that they are fulfilling your wishes, but if they don’t know what your wishes are, they cannot fulfil them!