A Will is a legal document whereby you ensure that your property, possessions and items of sentimental value are dealt with as you would wish. Your Will is a clear statement of your wishes, helping to avoid extra stress for your family at an already difficult time.
If you don't have a Will, your estate falls under the legal ruling of Intestacy – which means your estate is divided up by people who potentially don’t have your best interests at heart. These set out precisely which relatives get what proportion of your estate, depending on its value, whether you are married and whether you have children.
Did you know only 3 in 10 people in the UK have a Will. In 2009 the Treasury gained £53m from people who died intestate – without a Will. The year before it was £76m (bbcnews.co.uk)
If you are a sole trader or are a partner in a business the assets of your business or your share in assets owned by the partnership/business will be treated as part of your estate when you die.
What will happen to the business if I die?
If you are a sole trader and you want to pass on the business to another person in the event that you die it is a good idea to make a will. By making a will you will have the opportunity to ensure that the business passes to those whom you would like to take over the running of the business.
If you are a partner in a business you may well have signed a partnership agreement. Most written partnership agreements contain provisions as to what will happen if one of the partners die. If there are more than two partners the partnership will probably continue if you die. Otherwise the partnership will come to an end.
What will happen to the assets of the business if I die?
If you make a Will you will normally be able to control what happens to the assets of the business, or your share of the assets, should you die.
If you don’t make a Will, then the assets will pass according to the “rules of intestacy”. This may result in your assets passing other than in accordance with your wishes.
If you own any property jointly with another person, for example, a business partner and the property is held as a “joint tenancy” then your share in the property will automatically pass to the surviving joint tenant(s) if you die regardless of what your Will says. However this is when conflicts between the family and business partners may arise.
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