This article has been submitted by Peter lynn and Partners
If you have a Will in place, upon proof of death, the appointed executors would initiate the necessary proceedings in line with your wishes including instructions relating to your business and / or shares.
If, however, you do not have a Will in place, consider that upon proof of death, your business shares and responsibilities will be put on hold until your estate has been administered and probate completed in full which, depending on your estate, could take months if not longer. Business partners may not be able to make decisions on your behalf during that time, all your assets may be frozen and without inheritance tax planning, your estate may be subject to a large tax bill.
COMPANY PAYMENTS MAY GO UNPAID
If you are the sole shareholder of your business and employ staff, wages and suppliers may go unpaid until your estate has been administered, which may be months or longer.
SHARES MAY BE PASSED TO A PERSON NOT INVOLVED IN THE BUSINESS
Who will the new person sitting on the board be? Will they share the same values and aspirations? If the new person has inherited a majority stake in the business, that person is effectively the new boss – do you know who that person is?
YOUR INHERITANCE TAX BILL MAY BE HIGHER THAN NEEDED
No matter how much you consider your business or assets to be worth, the people appointed to inherit your estate will receive the maximum inheritance tax bill which, once debts have been taken into consideration, may not be anywhere near the amount you think.
There are many other pitfalls for business people passing on without a Will so our advice is simple; If you don’t have a Will, contact us immediately, If you do have one but haven’t reviewed it for five years or more, contact us to ensure it reflects your current situation.