Not having a ‘Cross Option Agreement’ could cause serious problems for your business!

Stressed couple checking bills

What happens in the event of serious illness or death of a controlling shareholder?

Every business should have a plan in place. Normally illness and capacity will not change the voting rights but death will.

Usually the companies articles of association will contain rules which authorise the executors of a deceased shareholder to register as the share owners until they transfer them to the beneficiaries. This is often not the best solution.

A better way is to prepare a shareholders agreement which sets out what will happen.

Its worth considering:

  1. pre-emption rights – these arrange automatic transfer to named shareholders
  2. purchase rights – these will allow the company to buy back the shares from the beneficiaries
  3. cross option agreements -According to Jerry Thomas, a specialist in business insurance: “If a company does not already have a Cross Option Agreement in place, the owners should give this serious and urgent consideration because they could be leaving themselves wide open to an unnecessary risk. It sets out in legal terms what happens to the shares if an owner dies and ensures they are kept within the company rather than passing to the beneficiary of the deceased, or worse still get purchased by a competitor! The agreement can also be written to include Critical Illness. The pre-agreed lump sum payment goes to the beneficiary and an insurance policy is normally put in place to save the remaining owners having to fund what could be a considerable sum of money, without warning. The policy should be written in trust so the beneficiary receives the payment without the delays of probate etc, and to protect them from Inheritance Tax deductions

Record breaking June Blogging

Blog Technical Squares

June has been the best month ever for our blog had 12,494 hits and on the 12th June 2016 had its best ever day with 1,396 hits.

Thank you to all our readers, we really appreciate you following and reading our blogs.


The plastic £5 is coming in September – what do you think? good or bad?


The New Fiver was unveiled at Blenheim Palace on 2 June and will be shown to the public at a number of events across the UK this summer.

The New Fiver will enter circulation on 13 September. It will then take a few weeks for the notes to spread across the country to shops, businesses and banks.

In May 2017 paper £5 notes will cease to be legal tender and will no longer be accepted by shops and banks.

Other notes and coins

The three Scottish banks are also printing their next £5 and £10 notes on polymer. Clydesdale Bank will be issuing a polymer £5 on 15 September, the Bank of Scotland on 4 October and RBS in November 2016. The Royal Mint will be issuing a new £1 coin in March 2017.

Future banknotes

The New Fiver is the first of the Bank of England’s new series of polymer notes, with the £10 and £20 notes to be replaced with polymer designs over the coming years.

Ten Pound note design

New ten pound note

The new polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen will enter circulation in summer 2017.

Twenty Pound note design

New twenty pound note

The new polymer £20 note featuring JMW Turner will enter circulation by 2020.

There are currently no plans to replace the £50 note featuring Boulton and Watt and we will announce the material for future £50 notes in due course.





The New Fiver has a number of security features which make it even harder to counterfeit. These include the see-through window and the foil Elizabeth Tower which is gold on the front of the note and silver on the back. You can learn more about these security features and how to check your notes here. Only a tiny proportion of notes are counterfeit – 0.0075% in 2015 – but we want to stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters and these new security features help us do this.

Time to renew your Tax Credits


Many small business owners are on low incomes whilst they build up their business and often they can claim Working Tax Credits.

The following summary is from Citizens Advice

Who can get Working Tax Credit

The number of hours a week you have to work to be able to get Working Tax Credit depends on your circumstances.

If you’re single or in a couple, and have no children, you can qualify if:

  • you are 25 or over and you work at least 30 hours a week, or
  • you are 16 or over and you work at least 16 hours a week and you are disabled and you get a qualifying benefit, or
  • you are 60 or over and you work at least 16 hours a week.

If you’re single and have at least one child, you can qualify if:

If you’re in a couple and you are responsible for a child or young person, you can qualify if:

  • you are 16 or over and you or your partner works at least 16 hours a week and the two of you work at least 24 hours a week between you in total. For example, you can meet this condition if you work 16 hours a week and your partner works 8 hours a week. If only one of you works, that person must work at least 24 hours, or
  • you are 16 or over and you work at least 16 hours a week and you are disabled and you get a qualifying benefit
  • you are 16 or over and you work at least 16 hours a week and your partner is a hospital in-patient or entitled to Carer’s Allowance or in prison or gets certain disability benefits
  • you are 60 or over and work at least 16 hours a week.

There is an online questionnaire you can use to find out if you might qualify for WTC. Go to the GOV.UK website at

What counts as work

Your work can be:

If you’re self-employed

Some self-employed people are not eligible for Working Tax Credit. To qualify, your self-employed work must aim to make a profit. It must also be commercial, regular and organised.

If you’re claiming tax credits, you’ll be sent a renewal pack. It will tell you how to renew your tax credits.

You must renew your tax credits by 31 July 2016 if your renewal pack has a red line across the first page and it says ‘reply now’.



£15m in R&D Grant funding up for grabs

R And D - Research And Development Tecy Background Banner

I am always looking for ways to help businesses and last week Barrie Dowsett sent me these details..

Innovate UK has launched a £15m grant funding pot for innovative projects in any technology, engineering or industrial area.

As grant funding is non-repayable, and Innovate do not take any equity, IP or commercial rights over your project, I thought you would be very interested in knowing more about this excellent funding opportunity. Priority will be given to proposals that are likely to lead to sustainable gains in productivity and/or access to new overseas markets through export led business growth.

Key information:

-Funding is available for testing the feasibility of your idea (including proof of market), research and develop it and demonstrate it in a prototype

– Project value: £25k to £1m depending on type of R&D undertaken

– Project duration: 6 to 36 months

– Micro/small business receive up to 70% of project costs, Medium up to 60% and large businesses receive up to 50% dependant on stage of research/development

– Application deadline is 12pm on the 7h September 2016

– Funding made available from around December 2016 onwards

National success rates for Innovate UK grants are typically less than 10%, however Myriad have success rates approaching 60%.

You can find out more details at