Succession Planning

Succession planning for individuals and families

Passing wealth and businesses to the next generation is the key consideration for successful individuals and families. We work with you to create an approach that is uniquely tailored to you. We use our extensive experience to structure your estate to take into account matters such as tax and regulatory issues to best achieve your aims.

Our solicitors Sarah Bushell TEP and Paul Clark TEP are experienced solicitors specialising in advising individuals and families on passing assets and wealth to the next generation. We are able to advise on all aspects of estate planning including Inheritance Tax planning, Wills and Powers of Attorney.

We pride ourselves on offering a personalised service and you will be allocated your own solicitor who will guide you through the process from start to finish. All of our solicitors who advise on Wills and Inheritance Tax planning are full members of STEP and are considered leading experts in this area of law.


Succession Planning for Business Owners

Our head of personal legal services Paul Clark TEP and our head of commercial legal services Max Tebbitts combine their expertise to offer succession planning for businesses and business owners. We work with your business to create your plan to minimise disruption and ensure the continued success of your business.

We are able to advice on all aspects of succession planing including business protection matters such as Business Lasting Powers of Attorney and Cross option agreements.

We can meet you at home, our office, your office or any other location to suit you. We also offer meetings by online video (such as Zoom, Skype and Teams) or by telephone.

Business powers of attorney

Before you lose the ability to make decisions about your business as a result of an accident or an illness a Lasting Power of Attorney gives you the chance to appoint someone to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. This can help with business continuity to limit any damage to your business caused by your incapacity. 

It is possible to cover business matters and personal finances in the same power of attorney but sometimes business owners may prefer to have separate attorneys managing their personal finances and their business affairs. Separate Powers of Attorneys can be created to cover personal and business matters, and it is critical the correct instructions are included to avoid any conflict.

We offer a combined approached between our commercial law expert Max Tebbitts and our private client specialist Paul Clark to ensure your Business Powers of Attorney work for you and your business.

Cross option agreements

Estate planning may not be at the forefront of your mind as a business owner or entrepreneur, especially in the early stages of building your enterprise. However, it is a crucial consideration that can have a profound impact on your business and fellow shareholders in the unfortunate event of a shareholder’s passing. 

It is important to protect your business from unforeseen circumstances, which is why we always advise our clients to think ahead and put in place measures to safeguard their business in the event of a death of a business owner.

Death of a shareholder

There can be major implications for a business if a company’s shareholders’ agreement or articles of association do not address the issue of what happens when a shareholder dies. The shares of the deceased shareholder will be inherited by the beneficiaries stated in their will or under the rules of Intestacy (if the shareholder dies without a will). Unfortunately, these beneficiaries, such as a spouse or children, may lack the interest or expertise required to take over the deceased’s role in the business. This can lead to catastrophic consequences if the remaining shareholders do not have the financial means to buy back the deceased’s shares.

How Cross Option Agreements help

To avoid such scenarios, a cross option agreement is indispensable. A cross option agreement grants the surviving shareholders the option to buy the deceased’s shares at their market value and the deceased’s personal representatives will have the option to sell the shares. To ensure the availability of funds for this purpose, an insurance policy is taken out and placed in trust.

Beyond providing essential protection for your business and the families of shareholders, a well-drafted cross option agreement offers tax efficiency when dealing with shares upon a shareholder’s death. Certain businesses can qualify for an Inheritance Tax exemption called Business Property Relief. It is crucial, however, that the ability to buy the deceased’s shares is outlined as a right rather than an obligation, as this can make the difference between qualifying for business property relief or not.

Rely on Our Expertise

At Spall Clark Solicitors, our integrated approach to providing advice means our commercial solicitors Max Tebbitts works along Paul ClarkTEP when advising on preparing cross option agreements and shareholders’ agreements to ensure that personal tax matters such as Inheritance Tax are taken into account. We understand the intricacies of estate planning and can guide you through the process, ensuring you and your business are well protected whatever the future holds.

For further information on how estate planning, including cross option agreements, can safeguard your business and family, please contact Max Tebbitts on 01260 769 639 or email him at


Recommended guides

Succession Planning, Inheritance Tax, Wills


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