Having a Will in place is essential if you want to have the final say in what happens to your business and personal assets after you die.

If you die without a Will, everything you own – including business and non-business assets – will be distributed under the laws of intestacy. This means that you or your loved ones will have no say as to who inherits.

Of course, when it comes to writing a Will, you have a plethora of options:

  • You can buy DIY kits from the high street
  • Do it online
  • Get advice from forums or
  • Write your own.

If you are looking to save money, these can provide seemingly good options.
But, when you own a business, not using a professional is almost always a mistaken false economy.

Six common mistakes with a DIY Will include:

  • It’s not signed or dated
  • It’s signed in the wrong place
  • It doesn’t have the necessary number of witnesses
  • The wrong person has witnessed the Will (e.g. a witness must not benefit from a Will so any family member you want to inherit cannot sign it)
  • The Will fails to cover all your assets
  • The Will fails to consider issues around inheritance tax, executors and trusts.

Even the smallest of mistakes could render a Will invalid, so expert advice is always recommended.

When you are a business owner, it is even more important that your Will is drafted by a professional. Not least because, if you own a business (or shares in a business), you will probably want to create your Wills in a tax-efficient way to help minimise inheritance tax.

Business assets

When you die, any shares or interest you own in a business become an asset of your estate. Without a Will, these shares could be sold, the company could be broken up, or it could run into trouble without the correct day-to-day management in place.

For example, you might know who you want to inherit your business after you die, but what happens if there is a tragedy and these people don’t survive? All eventualities should be considered and only a professional Will writer will know what questions to ask to make sure that your Will covers all situations.

In some cases, you might already have a partnership agreement or company agreement in place that set out what will happen to the business after you die. These types of agreements are usually put in place if more than one person owns a business and you want the company to continue after your death. However, to avoid your assets being dealt with under the rules of intestacy, your Will should detail who will receive your shares.

Drawing up a Will is something that must be done correctly. Speak to David Frederick by calling 020 8670 0917 or email david@marcus-bishop-associates.co.uk to ensure your Will is updated, and your wealth is passed on in line with your wishes.