Will drafting—business assets
Will drafting—business assets

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Will drafting—business assets
  • Inheritance tax
  • Business transmission options

Apart from the family home, a testator's business will be their most valuable asset either in terms of its actual cash value or its importance as an income-earning asset. From those perspectives, careful thought is required to preserve its potential after death. How this is accomplished depends heavily on the format of the business, ie whether it is incorporated or unincorporated.

Essentially, where the business is incorporated there will generally be a management structure in place that can continue to run it for the benefit of the estate. With an unincorporated business the problem is one of survival, ie whether the business will actually be able to be run after the testator's death. If it is a partnership, this is possible but if it is a sole concern with the goodwill and expertise tied up with the testator alone, the difficulties are substantial. The same problems will manifest themselves even if the business is incorporated if it is actually a 'one man band', no matter how successful it may be.

A matter of some importance in deciding what to do with the business is the question of inheritance tax (IHT). The rate at which the business will qualify for relief may be a deciding factor on its destination.

Inheritance tax

As with agricultural property, business property can carry 100% relief from IHT.