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Can I leave my business in my Will?

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What happens when a business partner dies?

Owning a business does have an impact on how you should structure your Will. It is important to consider who you want to inherit your shares or business interest. Making a Will can allow the business to pass to whoever you choose to take it over. A business can be treated just like any other assets, and it can be transferred through the Will to be distributed according to the owners wishes.

Although you can leave a business in a Will, you will need to also consider what position you hold within the business. For example, a sole trader is the simplest type of business, as the assets used for the business are the business’s owner and therefore this can be left as part of the estate. On the other hand, you may be a partner in a business and may have signed a partnership agreement.

A partnership agreement or shareholders agreement ultimately decides what happens to your shares when you die, therefore it is important that the agreement you sign has been properly drafted. The agreement could provide arrangements for the deceased shares. The partner may choose that the shares go to individuals such as their spouse or children etc. Alternatively, an agreement can arrange to buy out the deceased’s shares if that is what the partners wished to happen.

There are also inheritance tax and other taxation issues to consider when dealing with an interest in a business. These can be complex matters and it would be sensible to consult a specialist probate solicitor when looking at wealth planning

Both making a Will and entering into an agreement are essential for anyone involved in a business. A professional probate solicitor would be able to advise you further on business and Will requirements. 

If you would like to speak to a member of our specialist team in relation to making a Will or estate planning for business owners our approachable and professional experts would be pleased to talk to you about your situation, without legal jargon and discuss with you what we can do to help you protect your family and business. Call us on 0161 696 6238 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly. 

By Emily Coleman, Wills and Probate team

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