Whether or not you are an experienced business owner or investor, or just starting out in a company you have established with a friend, starting up a new company (or taking one over) is an exciting time.
Often, however, it doesn’t take too long for those rose coloured glasses to come off.
Business relationships – like any relationship – are often fraught with as much stress, financial worries and conflicting priorities as they are endowed with joy. Different people’s attitudes to risk and definitions of success generally change over time. And then difficulties can arise.
We generally advise our clients to negotiate a Shareholders Agreement as soon as possible after the company is incorporated. In our experience, shareholders are often most closely aligned early on in the business lifecycle. Once a dispute arises, it’s usually too late.
A Shareholders Agreement is an agreement governing the relationship between shareholders in a company – dealing with when and how shares can and must be transferred and how the company will be managed.
A Shareholder’s agreement sits side-by-side with the company’s constitution. While the constitution itself may cover some similar ground, it usually only addresses the bare mechanics and not big picture issues such as exit strategies, board appointments and how key decisions are made.
If a disagreement arises over these fundamental issues, and you have not laid down the ground rules for moving forward, it’s quite possible that by the time you sort it out in the Courts there will be nothing left to argue over.
If you haven’t already agreed a shareholders agreement – we strongly suggest that you do. Whether your business is a success or something else, you will be glad you went to the trouble.
At MSM Legal we have decades of experience in guiding our clients through these tricky negotiations, in order to document the agreement between the parties. Our aim is to pay close attention to the details now, to prevent expensive and costly disputes arising in the future.
As an adjunct to these commercial services we also provides assistance with wills, estate planning and probate. You would be surprised how intertwined all of these areas are.
Fees and Charges
We understand that for many of our smaller clients cost certainty is essential. To meet that need, we’re happy to offer many of our common legal documents at a fixed price.
For complex advice and strategic transactions, we offer a range of value-based pricing models, including:
- Hourly rates
- Capped fees
- Fixed prices
- Staged costing