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As a partner in a business what do I need to think about when making a will?

If you are in a business partnership and there is no partnership agreement, your death brings the partnership to an end. This has tax and commercial consequences, and could also result in the beneficiaries under your will having to pay unnecessary inheritance tax.

The partners should therefore make sure they have a written partnership agreement. This can say that the partnership will continue and set out what will happen to a deceased partner’s share. You should make sure that the agreement reflects what you want to happen: for example, how your share of the partnership should be valued.

Similar considerations apply if you are a shareholder in a private company. The company’s articles of association and any shareholders agreement should set out what happens: for example, whether you are allowed to leave your shares to whoever you want.

For inheritance tax purposes, business property relief may apply to your interest in a business, provided you have owned it for at least two years when you die. This could save all or part of the inheritance tax that you might otherwise be liable for. You should take advice to check your tax position and whether there are any steps you should take to improve it.

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