In devising an Estate Plan for a client, we look at their full situation – from family, to wealth, to their commercial interests.
In this instance, a business owner needed to consider the succession of their business as a part of their Estate Plan. The client did not have a partner or children to care for, but wanted to look after certain business partners and allow them to acquire his shareholdings if he was to pass away.
In making these offers, the client didn’t want the business partners to have to pay for the shareholdings, essentially treating them as a gift from his deceased Estate. As the Client did not own the shares personally, this was not an offer that could be built into his Will.
Our solution was to prepare standalone Option Agreements which are triggered on the client’s death, allowing the business partners to acquire shares. Option Agreements are able to set the price at which the shares are to be sold, in this instance $0.
Good succession planning can often comprise more than just a Will, and putting commercial agreements in place as part of an Estate Plan can help to achieve a client’s wishes.