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An agreement to buy and sell a business can be formed in a multitude of different ways. Don’t sign anything before speaking to a lawyer. Often, we find clients have jumped the gun too soon and signed off on a binding legal agreement, entirely unaware of the magnitude of putting pen to paper. In Western Australia there is no statutory cooling off period for the purchase of a business (or a house for that matter), except for franchise establishment situations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Contracts, which you might not have noticed, are everywhere in our life. From simple sale and purchase, service supply, property leasing, to employment, banking and investments. Like many of us, you may have been stuck in a contract before and wanted to get out. Can I? You may wonder. There are different ways to end a contract. However, contracts are binding legal instruments, so a free exit ticket may not always be available.
One of the most satisfying tasks we perform at Lynn and Brown Lawyers is to work with our clients to either purchase or sell a business. We all know how stressful it is buying or selling a property and hoping to achieve a successful outcome. These stresses are no different to those that exist around buying or selling a business, particularly if that business is one you have built from scratch or the business that you are looking to buy is as a result of a significant lifestyle change or ambition for the next stage of your career.
A shareholders’ agreement is a contract signed by the shareholders of a company, which regulates their obligations and rights, as well as what should happen if certain situations arise. Unlike a company constitution, (which is automatically binding on all members) a shareholders’ agreement is only binding on the shareholders who sign it – just like any other contract. Since shareholders’ agreements are not compulsory, there are no requirements as to how they must be written.
Thinking of starting a business? Especially in this ever-changing age of COVID-19, the sparks of inspiration that pave the way to becoming a business owner are kaleidoscopically diverse: like many Australians, you may have suddenly found yourself without a steady income; you may have found you loved working from home and having extra time with your family; perhaps you’ve decided to start a “side hustle” to your main career, or after many years of contemplation, you’ve decided to seize the day (and a great opportunity!) and pursue your dreams.
A good lawyer, with experience, can often foresee things others could not. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about an unforeseeable event happening after you agree to a contract, but there are some things you can do to ensure your contract is as well drafted as possible.
If you are thinking of starting a business, you will need to consider the different business structures available to you and work out which structure will best suit your needs. In Australia, businesses are commonly structured as sole traders, companies, partnerships, discretionary trusts and unit trusts. It is important to seek professional advice (from a lawyer, accountant, or business adviser) before deciding which business structure to use.

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