If you own a wills lawyer business, there may come a time when the possibility of selling that business occurs. There are countless reasons why that might happen with some of the more obvious ones being you plan to retire or that you want the liquidity in order to invest in another venture. Regardless of your reasons for selling, before you make any final decision there are some essential questions that you must answer.
In truth, how you answer these questions may or may not have any bearing on your decision to sell, and it might also sway you with regards to who you sell to. We would also add that you should also seek the assistance of a commercial lawyer to ensure that you are fully and legally protected throughout any transaction to sell your business.
Question #1: Are Selling Parts, Or All Of Your Business?
This will be influenced by how big and diverse your wills lawyer business is. If it is relatively small and you focus on a narrow range of services then it is likely you will be selling your business in its entirety. However, for larger legal firms where you have multiple services, you may retain some and sell the others. Whichever it is you must decide on this first, before placing any kind of value on them and then putting those elements of your business up for sale.
Question #2: What Legal And Binding Agreements Do You Currently Have?
This is one of those questions where we strongly advise you to enlist the help of a commercial lawyer. Trying to unpick all your contracts with staff, third-party suppliers, landlords and so on can be a minefield when selling any business. Some will apply to only you personally, some to the business entity, and some might lapse when you sell. You do not want to risk any litigation due to you inadvertently breaking a legal agreement due to the sale of your business.
Question #3: What Are You Going To Do Once You Have Sold Your Business?
Possibly more of a personal question for yourself rather than a business question, but whichever it is, you do genuinely need to have some kind of plan in place. If it is simply retirement then you want to ensure you have all your personal finances in order. If you wish to invest, then ensure you seek the best possible advice. If you plan to start or buy another business. then check that no part of your contract to sell your current business places any barriers or restrictions on that.
Question #4: Who Are You Selling The Business To?
Sadly, some business owners will sell their business and have not the slightest interest in who is buying and what their plans might be for it. Thankfully, more do care and want to ensure that the reputation of the business that they may have spent many years building is not trashed within the first month. Carry out due diligence on potential buyers, and in negotiations seek assurances with regards to how your staff, clients and other business associates will be treated.
Question #5: Are You Happy With All Aspects Of The Sale Agreement?
Always remember that until you put your signature to the sale agreement, nothing is set in stone. This means you have the opportunity to make sure that every element of the sale agreement, including the price and payment terms, is satisfactory to you. Again, seek the guidance of your commercial lawyer and ideally ask them to draw up the sale agreement and any other applicable legal documents for you.