Family Business Issues

It is not uncommon that in a long relationship, family members will go into business together or even set up a series of businesses. Sometimes these businesses involve the adult children in the family and quite often they involve a complicated web of corporate vehicles.

Simple & complex business structures

Examples of family business structures we have dealt with often include monies invested by the in-laws and also monies invested by the children. At its simplest, this may be a partnership or limited company where different amounts of money have been invested over the years. At its most complicated, ten to forty separate companies in separate countries may have been set up and the various different members of the one family may hold numerous different directorships, interests or shares in the different companies. This makes it all the more important to establish the value and ownership percentages of different members of the family at an early stage.

How to agree a company valuation

Sometimes the correct approach is to use an independent expert to establish an agreed value of the company or corporate group. Coming to an appropriate settlement may involve having other family members “intervene” in proceedings to protect their interests in the family businesses. Similarly, in-laws or other interested parties may do the same. Discretion and confidentiality may also be important if, for example, one of the family businesses is publicly listed or has outside investors or stakeholders. It is possible to obtain orders or agreements on confidentiality if this is required. The Family Court can also make a wide range of orders which extend to and include companies as well. In some proceedings a separate company series of orders and agreements may also be reached in separate specialised courts if it becomes necessary. We recommend considering and weighing up all the options carefully before proceeding.

If you have some family business interests that you wish to protect we recommend you contact us. See also our problem scenario below.

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Family Business Scenario

Mr B happens to be the brother-in-law of Mrs A who is involved in bitterly contested divorce and financial proceedings. Mr B is worried because he  invested in one of the properties that is part of Mr B’s property development business. He understands that Mr and Mrs A are negotiating to sell assets from the business to fund Mrs A’s settlement. He wants to know what we can do to protect his interest in the property.

Our Solution:
We recommend to Mr B that he “intervenes” in proceedings. Mr B does so and this protects his investment. Mr B’s intervention provides clarity and this narrows the issues in dispute.

Note: The above scenario does not relate to any individual clients of ours but the facts and the outcomes relate to some similar experiences in our practice.  

What our clients are saying:

‘MS’

“I felt greatly reassured by hearing your opinion of my situation primarily because it felt realistic and sensible and not, as often is the case, an answer to make the client feel better!”


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Brookman Solicitors

57 Reviews

Hossam Abdel Dayem 06/12/2019

Very professional service. I have had my first consultation with Mr Brookman who listened carefully to all my worries, answered all my questions and reassured me about the expected outcome. I can not begin to say how grateful I am to him for his help.

Rhea Steel 06/09/2019

I sent an email to book a free 45 min consultation. A senior partner answered my questions and put me at ease. No consultation needed!

A D 29/08/2019

I had the opportunity to meet Henry Brookman in a very difficult time of my life and he has been of great advise and support. Thank you!

Simon Rogerson 12/08/2019

I wanted to say a big thanks to Henry Bookman and his colleagues for all their help and guidance during my divorce - a long a complicated one. The team were all brilliant. I loved the fact that Henry was happy to explore possibilities and search for solutions. I also feel that on occasions he gave hope when things were against me. All told a great coach who was ready with pearls of wisdom when I needed it.

An'a. K 10/08/2019

I would strongly recommend this firm. I had the opportunity to discuss my case thoroughly with Mr Bookman. But before the initial consultation, I had a telephone conversation with a legal assistant who took most of the details down, so that my initial consultation was to the point I appreciate the advice given by Mr Bookman and think it a humble approach that the initial consultation is FREE and carried by the most senior member of the firm and not by a junior staff like it happens in other firms.