Three prominent names in football have passed in recent weeks. Today, Gianluca Vialli passed away aged 58, reported by BBC Sport as ‘one of the modern era’s great strikers and also one of its most popular and enduring figures’, George Cohen, one of the last remaining legions of the 1966 World Cup squad passed away just before Christmas, and earlier this week, David Gold, joint-chairman of West Ham United F.C, passed away aged 86.

David’s business interests stretched far and wide, and according to the Times Rich List, David and his family’s wealth amounted to a staggering £460m.

The passing of any friend or loved one is hard for those left behind, especially at this time of year. However, when someone leaves a business behind, especially a successful empire, it is important that a business succession plan is in place to ensure a smooth transition following the death or incapacity of a business owner.

Careful consideration needs to be given to where ownership of the company will fall under the terms of your Will, or under the rules of intestacy if you don’t have one. It is a common misconception that a spouse will always inherit everything in the absence of a Will, which is certainly not the case.  It could be disastrous if the company’s ownership is split amongst family members who may have no clue or interest in how to run the business.

Whilst many of us are already familiar with the need to have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to deal with our personal property and financial affairs and health and welfare, in the event in incapacitation, it is recommended that business owners also have a property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney relating to their business.  Whilst the natural choice of Attorneys when choosing people to deal with your personal affairs may include family members and close trusted friends, these individuals may not always be the best people to run your business.  As the roles are very different, it may be best to have different Attorneys appointed for each role.

Our Private Client team provide extensive advice to business owners to ensure their business assets can be dealt with in the event of incapacitation and pass smoothly in the event of death, please contact a member of the team for advice.