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What Happens if an Owner of a Florida Business Dies Without a Buy-Sell Agreement?

Rarely, if ever, can someone predict when they will die.  Accidents, sudden illnesses and catastrophic events occur without any notice.

Practically speaking, when a shareholder, partner, member or owner of a Florida business dies without a buy-sell agreement having first been executed, the deceased owner's ownership interests pass according to the manner in which all of his/her other assets pass upon death. 

Our Tampa business attorneys and Tampa contract lawyers believe that if the deceased owner signed a last will and testament or a trust prior to dying, his/her ownership interests pass according to the provisions of the will or trust.  If, however, the deceased owner has neither a trust, nor a will, the owner is said to die intestate, and the deceased owner's ownership interests pass according to the intestacy laws of the state of Florida. 

In most instances when a deceased owner has a will or trust, his/her ownership interests pass to his/her spouse or children , much the same way a piece of jewelry or other possession is passed to the deceased's heirs, due to the fact that most individuals elect to pass their assets to a close family member.  However, in Florida, unlike real property that is deemed to be a spouse's Florida homestead, a surviving spouse has no right to an elective share of a business or ownership interest. 

Thus, our Tampa business attorneys and Tampa contract lawyers indicate that because a shareholder, partner, member or owner of a business can draft his last will and testament or trust any way he/she so chooses, said owner could theoretically leave his/her shares, partnership interests, membership interests or ownership interests to any person or entity he/she so chooses - including a spouse, minor child, mistress, university foundation, church, etc.

Ultimately, in order to avoid someday becoming a partner, co-shareholder, co-member or co-owner with a person or entity that you have no desire to co-own a business with, you absolutely must have a buy-sell agreement or some other agreement that contains buy-sell provisions.

The Tampa business attorneys and Tampa contract lawyers at Hyde Park Law commonly prepare buy-sell agreements (as well as shareholder agreements, partnership agreements and operating agreements) for businesses in Tampa, Florida while taking into account a business owner's desire to predetermine his / her future partners, managing members, shareholders and co-owners.

If you are in need of a Tampa business attorney, Tampa contract lawyer, Tampa lease lawyer or Tampa real estate attorney to review, negotiate or prepare your buy-sell agreement or contract, or to handle your business, real estate or commercial transaction, please feel free to contact us at any time.

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