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Leaving a Business in a Will

Securing Your Business Future through Estate Planning

Imagine this scenario: Bob built his business from scratch, pouring in endless hours and relentless effort. Now, after years of hard work, he’s considering what will happen to his beloved venture when he’s no longer around. This is where leaving your business in a will comes into play.

The Importance of a Well-Defined Plan

Leaving your business in a will is crucial for ensuring a smooth transition of ownership and operations. Without a clear plan in place, your business could face uncertainty, disputes, or even closure upon your passing. Bob realises this and wants to secure the future of his business for his family and employees.

Protecting Your Legacy

By including detailed instructions in his will, Bob can designate who will inherit his business and how it should be managed after he’s gone. This provides peace of mind, knowing that his hard work will continue to benefit his loved ones, if he chooses his next of kin, and the community he served.

Choosing the Right Successor

One of the most critical decisions Bob faces is selecting the right person to take over his business. He considers factors such as family members’ interest and capability, as well as the qualifications and dedication of his key employees. After careful deliberation, he decides to pass the torch to his eldest daughter, who has shown a keen interest in the business and has the skills to lead it successfully.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Bob understands that leaving his business in a will involves complex legal and financial considerations. To ensure everything is handled properly, he consults with an experienced estate planning advisor. The advisor helps him draft a comprehensive plan that addresses various scenarios and minimises potential tax implications.

Communicating Your Intentions

Clear communication is key when leaving your business in a will. Bob sits down with his family and key employees to discuss his intentions openly. He explains his decision-making process and listens to their concerns and feedback. This transparency fosters understanding and alignment among all parties involved.

Updating Your Plan Regularly

As circumstances change, it’s essential to review and update your will periodically. Bob understands that his business may evolve over time, and new opportunities or challenges may arise. By staying proactive and revisiting his estate plan as needed, he ensures that it remains relevant and effective.

Exploring Relevant Life Insurance Policies

In addition to leaving your business in a will, exploring relevant life insurance policies can provide an extra layer of financial security for your loved ones and your business. Bob understands that life insurance can help cover potential expenses, such as estate taxes or business debts, without burdening his beneficiaries. By carefully selecting a policy tailored to his needs, he ensures that his family and business will be protected financially in the event of his passing. Integrating life insurance into his estate plan complements his efforts to safeguard his business legacy, offering additional peace of mind for the future.

Leveraging Business Property Relief (BPR) in Estate Planning

In Bob’s meticulous estate planning journey, he’s delved into the realm of Business Property Relief (BPR), a valuable tool for mitigating inheritance tax liabilities. BPR offers relief on certain business assets, including shares in qualifying unlisted companies and certain types of business property. By leveraging BPR, Bob can potentially reduce or eliminate the inheritance tax liability on his business assets, ensuring that more of his hard-earned wealth can be passed on to his beneficiaries. Understanding the intricacies of BPR and ensuring that his business qualifies for this relief is an essential component of Bob’s estate planning strategy. With careful consideration and expert guidance, Bob can maximise the benefits of BPR, safeguarding his business legacy and minimising the tax burden on his heirs. Integrating BPR into his estate plan adds another layer of protection and financial efficiency, reinforcing his commitment to preserving his business for future generations.

What qualifies for BPR?

Business Property Relief (BPR) is a valuable tax relief provided by the UK government to encourage investment in certain types of business assets. In Bob’s estate planning journey, understanding what qualifies for BPR is essential for maximizing tax efficiency and preserving his business legacy. Generally, BPR applies to:

  1. Shares in Unlisted Companies: Ownership of shares in qualifying unlisted companies typically qualifies for BPR. These can include shares in Bob’s closely held business or other private companies.

  2. Interest in a Sole Trader or Partnership Business: If Bob owns a sole trader or partnership business, a portion of its value may qualify for BPR.

  3. Business Assets: Certain business assets, such as machinery, equipment, and property used in the business, may qualify for BPR. However, assets held mainly for investment purposes or not used in the business generally do not qualify.

  4. Unquoted Securities: Investments in unquoted securities, such as shares traded on AIM (Alternative Investment Market), may also qualify for BPR, subject to specific criteria.

  5. Agricultural Property: Agricultural property that meets certain conditions may qualify for BPR, providing relief for businesses involved in farming, forestry, or horticulture.

  6. Qualifying Business Relief Investments: Investments in certain types of businesses, such as those engaged in trading activities rather than investment activities, may qualify for BPR.

What doesn’t qualify for BPR?

  1. Investment Holdings: Assets held mainly for investment purposes, such as stocks, shares, or securities not related to trading activities, usually do not qualify for BPR. This includes investments in publicly traded companies or investment funds.

  2. Property Not Used in a Business: Property held for investment or personal use, such as residential properties, holiday homes, or rental properties not used in the business, generally do not qualify for BPR.

  3. Cash and Bank Accounts: Cash held within the business or in personal bank accounts typically does not qualify for BPR, as it’s considered a liquid asset rather than a business asset.

  4. Non-Trading Business Activities: Businesses primarily engaged in investment activities, such as property development, leasing, or holding securities, may not qualify for BPR. The relief is intended to support businesses involved in trading activities.

  5. Assets Subject to Leases: Assets subject to leases where the lessee has full possession and use of the asset generally do not qualify for BPR. This includes leased property or equipment where Bob no longer has control over its use.

  6. Businesses with Excessive Non-Trading Activities: If a significant portion of the business’s activities is deemed non-trading, it may not qualify for BPR. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may scrutinize businesses with excessive non-trading activities to determine eligibility for relief.

It’s important for Bob to ensure that his business and assets meet the eligibility criteria outlined by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to qualify for BPR. Seeking guidance from tax professionals or estate planning advisors can help Bob navigate the complexities of BPR eligibility and maximize the tax relief available for his business assets. By leveraging BPR effectively, Bob can reduce the inheritance tax burden on his estate, ensuring that more of his wealth is passed on to his chosen beneficiaries.


Determining the valuation of his business is another critical aspect of Bob’s estate planning process. Accurately assessing the value of his business ensures that he can make informed decisions regarding its transfer to his beneficiaries. Bob understands that the valuation of his business will impact various aspects of his estate plan, including tax calculations, asset distribution, and succession planning. By enlisting the expertise of valuation professionals, Bob can obtain a thorough and objective assessment of his business’s worth. This valuation takes into account factors such as the company’s financial performance, market conditions, industry trends, and potential growth opportunities. Armed with this information, Bob can confidently plan for the future, knowing the true value of his business and how it fits into his overall estate strategy. Whether it’s for estate tax purposes, buy-sell agreements, or gifting strategies, an accurate business valuation is essential for Bob to effectively leave his business in a will and secure its legacy for generations to come.


Leaving your business in a will is a critical aspect of estate planning for business owners like Bob. By taking proactive steps to outline your wishes and secure the future of your business, you can protect your legacy and provide for your loved ones long after you’re gone. So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Start planning today to ensure a smooth transition and continued success for your business.

Don’t forget to ASK X any questions you may have or watch the video below