As a matrimonial lawyer people often
think that we spend most of our days dealing with relationship breakdowns. Whether it’s a divorce or separating couple but actually a large part of the work that we do is in relation to planning work with our clients. Whether it’s prenups or postnups. So what I want to do today is just talk like this about the work that we’re doing with our business owners. It’s vitally important
that people protect for their future. Whether it’s a will or a trust or that
type of document and so therefore the private claim team and the corporate
team work very closely together with our business clients to make sure that all
the correct corporate documents are in place. Whether this is as I say wills and trusts or checking the shareholder agreement matches the wishes of the parties. Sadly we’ve seen on occasions when this hasn’t been done someone’s
died and the business has actually going to financial meltdown because the probate hadn’t been dealt with as quickly as it perhaps could have been due to the wishes of the individual not being correctly recorded in the shareholder
agreement and in the will. What we try and do with our clients is work with them quite a bit of the way before these documents will be needed so that they
can take the time to make the decisions and also make sure that they have
everything in place so that if they want to exit the business by retirement or a
buyout they have everything in place that they need. The matrimonial team can often help with these documents in relation to prenups and postnups. A prenuptial agreement is a document entered into before marriage and a
postnuptial is the same agreement but it’s one that’s entered into after the
parties have married. What these documents can do is reduce the uncertainty so that if and not when a marriage breaks down all the parties to
the marriage know exactly what is to happen to the assets. We find this is particularly useful in a business environment when people may not want
their other spouse to have shares in the business or equally if someone has an
inheritance that they believe should be passed down their bloodline rather than
via a divorce so what we can do is work with the parties to make sure that these
documents are correctly and legally drawn up to help the parties moving
forward should there be any difficulties in the marriage. We hope that these just gather dust on the shelf but then there if they are needed. What we can do therefore is work with our business clients to look at whether, if they’re buying
into a business, they would want these shares of the business to be
protected should the relationship end or should the be difficulties if some stage
within the marriage. We often find as well that the other shareholders in the
company quite pleased for these documents to be drawn up and can be
accurately reflected within the shareholder agreement and protected this
way. It’s very important that succession planning is thought about obviously as a matrimonial lawyer we do tend to deal with relationship breakdowns but
equally it could be that someone in the business dies. Therefore whilst everyone has full
mental capacity and is still actively involved in the business the
shareholders and directors in the business can set some paperwork together that will set out what’s to happen to the business if that shareholder dies. We find that the documents that are quite difficult for people to talk about because we don’t like to talk about death or divorce or incapacity but actually they are very very important corporate documents. What we’ve done at Clarion
is we’ve put together a fixed fee package so there’s certainty on costs which
people like the business can pay for some of these documents drawing up
because it involves the shareholder agreement or the partnership agreement
and then we also ensure that the individual has a real power of attorney
and that if they have any assets that may be in trust such as a pension that they can
be protected in the correct trust also. We can also help people with the tax
planning side of things so again we’ve helped people in the past save on
inheritance tax and to ensure that the documents that are drawn up can claim
the suitable business property relief