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Exiting Your Business

You may be selling your business ready for retirement, need support with bankruptcy proceedings or just want to change direction. We provide sound, sensible legal advice that's right for you and your business.

Protecting your assets

Extracting money/protecting nest egg from taxman or upon divorce

Your spouse may never have shown any interest in your business, but if the marriage breaks down, they could still claim against any business assets, director's loan accounts, cash and income streams. We specialise in working with business owners helping to minimise needless conflict and financial cost. We understand business and understand the steps that can be taken to protect your assets.

Corporate Will

Our Corporate Will Service reviews your existing arrangements to see what protection you have in place and then reports back with any recommendations. We can do this for all owners of a business, although individual wishes will remain confidential. The Corporate Will ensures all owners have their affairs in order and there are no nasty surprises for the others in the event that someone dies unexpectedly, gets divorced or suffers an accident.

We look at: 

  • Existing Articles of Association and any Shareholder's Agreements 
  • Powers of attorney in relation to business and personal financial decision making in the event of incapacity 
  • General succession planning for the business 
  • Inheritance tax planning is crucial for business clients contemplating a sale of the business in the short to medium term but also important as part of general weatlh planning 
  • Insurance options to provide cash on the death of an owner to enable a buy back of shares 
  • Protection in respect of divorce or separation of an owner 
  • Making/updating Wills 
  • Review of property ownership 
  • Trusts & Pensions

Entrepenuerials relief & Roll over relief IHT/CGT

If you're in the process of selling your business for a healthy profit, it's likely that a large Capital Gains Tax bill is also on the horizon. However, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. Entrepreneurs' Relief reduces the rate of capital gains tax payable on the sale of "qualifying business assets" down from 18% or 28% (depending on whether you are basic or higher rate tax payer) down to 10%. This relief applies to the first £10 million of qualifying gains, currently giving a total potential tax saving of £1.8 million.

In addition, if your business interests qualify for relief for inheritance tax purposes, there is a way you can keep the relief even after the sale of the business has been completed, by reinvesting in certain qualifying assets which do not require the usual 2 year qualification ownership period. This is specialist advice which can mean you make significant savings from inheritance tax on your eventual death.

If you're looking to sell your business, we can advise on how best to protect your business assets and put you in touch with independent financial advisers and accountants.

Succession Planning

Business owners are usually keen to protect their businesss interests in terms of how families and preferred beneficiaries will benefit in the longer term, particularly bearing in mind the risk of divorce within the family or possibly, remarriage of a surviving spouse. We can advise on the use of trusts both in your lifetime and in your Will to build up that protection so you feel your assets are protected as far as possible and that all beneficiaries will be looked after in the way that you intend. 

Insurance to pay out to your family when you die

Taking out insurance can be an important part of business succession planning. It may be that family members inherit the deceased's business interest, which may never have been the owner's intention. To prevent this, an insurance policy can be put in place to release a lump sum which pays out to the surviving owners allowing them to buy back the deceased's shares and retain control of the business. For this to happen, the appropriate provisions governing the business must be reviewed, all of which we can help with.

If you have taken out a Life insurance policy, it will pay your dependants money as a lump sum or as regular payments if you die. The amount of money paid out depends on the level of cover you buy. You can also decide how it is paid out and whether it will cover specific payments, such as mortgage or rent.

It's advisable to detail in your Will how your life insurance is distributed amongst your beneficiaries. If you die without making a Will, then the people you wish to inherit may end up receiving nothing at all. Our team can make the process of drafting a Will as easy as possible, guiding you through any technical or difficult issues and treating everything with sensitivity.

If you are getting married or divorced, or have recently received an inheritance, it's absolutely vital you make or update your Will - particularly if you have children under 18 as of course you will need to appoint guardians to be responsible for their care should you pass away. Whatever your circumstances we highly recommend reviewing your Will every few years to make sure it's up to date.

A Corporate Will is very similar to a Personal Will but looks at allocation of shares, business assets and the overall managementof your business. We can help with both sides of future planning.

Tax planning & advice on change of financial position

It is inevitable that your financial position will change as you move through your business and personal life. We strongly suggest that your personal and business affairs are fully up to date, bearing in mind any tax planning measures, which is particularly relevant if you are exiting or selling your business.

Our team has sigtnificant expertise in these areas and can let you know what, if anything, needs to be done as part of a Corporate Will review for you and your co-owners.

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