When was the last time you reviewed your Will to check if it still reflects your wishes? And here of course we are assuming that you have a Will!
Without a last Will and Testament, you cannot be sure that your final wishes will be adhered to, which is why it is important to document before you die, what you wish to happen to your estate. In considering what should be included in your Will, you will want to think about your business – as well as your personal assets.
A Will for business owners should be part of a succession planning process, which is regularly reviewed to take account of changes in personal circumstances and in the business. Succession planning should consider how best to ensure that the real value of the business can be retained and transferred to the beneficiaries.
Where business owners are looking to pass on the business to the next generation, they will want to consider:
- Whether the structure of the company, if there is one, permits this
- Whether there is anyone in the family who is willing and able to take on the business
- The tax consequences
- Whether any additional funding would be required.
Where business owners see the business more as an investment that will ultimately be sold and they will want the proceeds of sale to be passed on to the family, they will want to consider:
- To whom the business will be sold
- Does that person/business have the capital available to fund the purchase
- If the intended purchaser is unlikely to be involved in the running of the business, who would run the business between the death of the business owner and the sale, ensuring that goodwill is maintained
- Will there be sufficient funds available to the business or the estate to ensure that the business can continue running between the death of the owner and its later sale.
In both cases, if the full value of the business is to be realised, the current business owner needs to consider how they will ensure that the goodwill of the business is maintained and that someone is in a position to run the business.
Business owners will also want to consider whether any interest should be passed on to the next generation before the death of the business owner, which may help to ensure the continued success of the business and the transfer of its value in a tax efficient manner.
In addition you will want to think about the following:
- Who will your executors and trustees be
- Limiting the impact of nursing home fees on your estate
- Minimising the inheritance tax liability
- Potentially setting up trusts for your children and grandchildren
- In the event of your partner re-marrying, ensuring that your children are provided for
- Confirming plans for your funeral
- Appointing guardians if you have young children
We would recommend that you seek professional help from a solicitor in the consideration and drafting of your Will. You may like to contact Nick of Stratford Solicitors: email@example.com