Family Businesses

Family Businesses

Running a family business can be very rewarding and full of exciting opportunities. It can also be complex and challenging; particularly when it comes to personal relationships between family members employed within the business.

At Palmers, we act for many clients who own and run family businesses and are acutely aware of their unique differences to other businesses, and the specific issues they face. We can provide specialist advice on family disputes including sibling discontent or disagreement over a ‘retired’ parent continuing to be involved with the running of the business.

Much of the success of a family business relies on good working relationships and shared aims and objectives. We can help to achieve this by working closely with family businesses to find solutions to disagreements or by advising on the legal implications of dealing with sensitive business areas, such as the timely passing of control to the next generation.

Our holistic approach, combined with our legal expertise, means we are not only adept at dealing with the personal issues affecting family-owned businesses. We are also fully qualified to advise on the commercial issues facing family businesses too, including providing advice on effective tax and financial planning.

Our services to family businesses include:

  • management and ownership succession – this is a complex area for family businesses and one which can cause worry, particularly if there does not seem to be a clear solution. We can advise on the options available and draw up the necessary legal documentation or provide advice on changes to  what you already have
  • restructuring existing ownership/amending/creating new shares to reflect spousal and child contributions – at Palmers, we can advise on the legal implications that restructuring may have and we can assist in the administration involved in creating new shares.
  • advice on shareholders agreements, partnership agreements and family charters – the structure of a business is essential if it is to grow. If this is to happen, documentation must be in place which clearly states the legal relationship between the shareholders or partners. We can advise on which agreements are best suited for the business, as well as what these agreements should cover, such as protection for minority shareholders and investors and shareholder finance details
  • advice on the use of business trusts – we can advise on the creation of new trusts, provide advice and guidance on the suitability of existing trusts,  and  provide guidance and guidance on tax implications along with helping you to manage them efficiently in accordance with compliance guidelines
  • we can offer sound advice on business property relief, inheritance tax (IHT) and estate planning, and the options available for minimising your liabilities.
  • we are able to assist in putting protections into place to ensure that ownership stays within the family, including protection against divorce, death and family disagreements. Whether such events happen or not, it makes good sense to protect the assets of the business and the family in the event of a relationship breakdown. We can advise on the options available and the legal implications involved and are able to  draw up the documentation that is required
  • advice on disputes between family members;  sometimes conflicts between family members within a business can not be resolved without the help of an external party. At Palmers, we handle family disputes with the sensitivity they require and can offer a mediation service and give advice on appropriate solutions, both commercially and personally. Such solutions can include the creation of agreements or family charters which clearly depict the role of each family member within the business, either active or inactive.

For more information on how our specialist family business team at Palmers can help, please contact us.

Matthew Johnson

Associate Solicitor

Basildon and Thurrock