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For Individuals

Wills for Business Owners

Running a business involves constant planning, a range of skills and judgement.

When it comes to thinking about your business and writing a Will, planning and judgement are again needed.

The types of question you need to ask when thinking about your Will are:

  • Who would take on the day to day decisions?
  • Who would decide if the business needs to be sold?
  • Should I allow any shareholder or cross option agreement for other owners?
  • Can I bequeath my business or interest to anyone of my choice?
  • Should I give my executors powers to carry on running the business?

The team can advise you on any type of business relationship you have and any family circumstance that may need consideration. 

The following outlines the common options and decisions that need to be made in context to the business type:

  • Shareholder in  Limited Liability Company
  • A Limited Liability Company has a separate legal entity distinct from the shareholders who own it.

The Articles of Association will determine the rights that the shareholder has in the disposal of their shares.  Often this gives the other shareholders the right to buy the deceased's shareholding, alternatively, there may be the option for a spouse or family member to receive a bequeathed shareholding.

The Articles take precedence over any conflicting clause in a Will and it is prudent to get the right tools in place both in the Articles and Will to ensure an easy transition for your family.

Sole Trader

Often the sole trader is the person in the business with the skill, knowledge and business experience, although a family member and/or an employee may have been groomed to take over the business.

One option would be to grant in your Will an option for such an employee or relative to purchase the business on such terms as you direct.  Any contracts that the business has entered into should be checked to see whether any penalties and/or restrictions concerning rights to assign exist.


Without a Partnership Agreement in place your death dissolves the Partnership with the equal proportion of capital and income passing to your estate.

The remaining partner(s) may wish to continue in business but will need to rasie the monies due to your estate within a reasonably short period of time, which may force the sale of the firm's assets.

For Partnerships, a Partnership Agreement and Cross Option Agreement can ensure a properly planned settlement of your business affairs.  An alternative could be a Business Trust in a Will.