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Wills for business owners

If you’re a business owner, or own shares or an interest in a business, it can make things very complex if you fail to take the business side of things into consideration when writing your Will.

Our Wills and probate team are experts in advising business owners on considerations such as Will writing, inheritance tax and succession planning. Get in touch to find out more by calling 0161 696 6238.

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Why do business owners need a Will?

For business owners, it’s important to think about who should inherit the business or shares after you pass away. Effective Will writing can help to make sure this happens as you intend and can prevent your business interests from passing to someone unsuitable or someone who is not equipped to handle this.

If you don’t have a Will, or your Will doesn’t include clear instructions about your business interests, the consequences could include your business or shares:

  • Passing to someone who doesn’t want this responsibility
  • Passing to someone who doesn’t have any skills or experience in this area
  • Being the cause of conflict between multiple people who disagree about how the business should be run
  • To cease trading automatically, which can have significant consequences.

Ensuring that you have a well-written Will in place can alleviate your worries about what happens to your business after you pass away. 

What is a business Will?

In the same way that a standard Will helps to ensure that the people you want to will inherit parts of your estate and assets, a business Will does the same thing but also includes information about the deceased’s wishes for their business interests after they die. If a business owner or business partner dies without a will, it can make things very difficult to sort out for others involved in the business. 

Some businesses will automatically cease trading if the owner passes away, which can have a devastating effect on the value of the business for any beneficiaries. A business Will can ensure this doesn’t happen by setting out what should happen instead. 

Another consideration for a small business Will is that you may wish to appoint different executors to the business side or your estate to the personal side e.g. someone with appropriate business experience to handle your business interests. 

Can you leave a business in a Will?

The legality of leaving a business in a Will in the UK will depend on the circumstances involved with the specific business. If you are a sole trader, with no employees or other shareholders in the business, dealing with this in a Will can be fairly straightforward.

However, if you’re in a business partnership or own shares or a business interest along with other people, things can be more complex when it comes to your Will and the business. It’s essential to take expert legal advice in this kind of situation as the setup of businesses can differ and you’ll require tailored support to ensure the Will is written in the right way to support your wishes after your death. 

How do I make a Will for my business?

We can offer specialist legal advice to individuals with business interests who want to write their Will and ensure that the business side of things is managed according to your wishes. Our services can be applied to businesses of all sizes and types and we offer bespoke advice to fit every kind of business setup and situation.

Get in touch to find out more about Wills for business owners by calling 0161 696 6238.

Further information

The advice provided to non-face to face clients will be through electronic or written communication only e.g. by telephone and email. Stephensons Solicitors LLP assumes no responsibility for, and shall not be liable for, (a) verification of mental capacity or testamentary capacity (b) verification of any undue influence or duress involved (c) the execution of any documents.

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