Shareholders Agreement

21st August 2013
Shareholders Agreement image

Shareholders Agreement

Many of us decide to set up a limited company when we go into business, there may be many reasons for choosing this type of business medium but one of the main reasons is it offers you limited personal liability.

If you have started up your company with another party however, no matter how well protected or limited your liability may be to the outside world, you may still encounter major problems in terms of both stress and finances if you later fall out with your fellow shareholders or are unable to agree on a certain point.

Even the best of friends can fall out over business and it is important to remember that just because you all start out with same plan and ambitions in mind that is not necessarily going to remain the case. Many factors can influence how a person chooses to react in their work/ business life, for example family, illness or even just a general change of heart.  The story of starting up a business with a friend and not bothering to put something as formal as a shareholders’ agreement into place and then having a difficult and protracted fallout is all too familiar.

A shareholders’ agreement is essentially a contract between the individual shareholders, it can set out what will happen if certain circumstances arise, what will happen if one of them wishes to leave the business , what share of profits each of the shareholders are entitled to etc . A shareholders’ agreement can be drafted to so that certain issues must have a majority or even unanimous vote in order to proceed.  This is beneficial as often a company has a shareholder with more than 50 % of the shares who can effectively run the company.  If this provision is included, it will protect the minority shareholders from this situation.

If you have worked for years to build up the goodwill of your company and then a key member leaves, the last thing that you would want is for them to set up in competition with your company.   A clause could be inserted into the shareholders’ agreement to prevent this and thus protect the company going forward.

A bank may insist on this type of protection (i.e. a shareholders’ agreement) before offering any funding/credit to a company.  It is such an important and fundamental document.

The shareholders can agree near enough whatever they like between themselves in a shareholders’ agreement. It is a private agreement and does not have to be lodged at Companies’ House and will not be inspected by the public.

A shareholders’ agreement may help prevent a great deal of argument and distress in the future and will ultimately be a cheaper option then taking action in the courts when the company has hit problems as a result of disagreements with the shareholders. You cannot afford to own/manage a business without a shareholders’ agreement.

If you think that a shareholders’ agreement would be beneficial to your company please call Gemma Mayer on 01775 722261 or email or write to Gemma at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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Gemma Mayer LLB

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Anita Toal LLB BA

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Daven Naghen LLB

"Daven provided an excellent service, from attending the first interview with me to the final court appearance. He filled me full of confidence that he would defend me to which he did and come out with an excellent outcome in view of my position that I had put myself in."

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

Mike Pepper gave us excellent advice. He was always most helpful and accommodating giving lucid explanations every step of the way. Thank you Mike.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!