If you are planning to start a business that involves a partnership or a joint venture with other individuals or entities, it is essential to have a shareholders agreement in place. A shareholders agreement is a legally binding contract between the shareholders of a company that outlines their rights, responsibilities, and obligations.
Having a shareholders agreement in place protects the interests of all the parties involved and ensures that all the shareholders have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the company.
If you are wondering where to start when it comes to drafting a shareholders agreement, you can use a template as a starting point. Here are some of the essential elements that you should include in a template for a shareholders agreement:
1. Purpose and Goals: Begin by outlining the purpose of the agreement, which is to detail the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the shareholders. Clearly state the goals of the company and the expectations of the shareholders.
2. Ownership Structure: Define the ownership structure of the company and specify the number of shares each shareholder owns. Also, outline the classes of shares, the rights and privileges of each class, and the authority of the shareholders to issue new shares.
3. Management and Control: Outline the management and control structure of the company, including the powers of the board of directors, the appointment and removal of directors, and the frequency and procedure of meetings.
4. Shareholder Rights: Specify the rights of the shareholders, including voting rights, dividend entitlement, and pre-emption rights. Also, define the transferability of shares and the restrictions on transferring shares.
5. Dispute Resolution: Outline the procedure for resolving disputes among the shareholders, including mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
6. Termination and Dissolution: Define the circumstances under which the company may be terminated or dissolved, including bankruptcy, insolvency, or a change in the ownership structure.
7. Confidentiality and Non-Compete: Include provisions that protect the confidential information of the company and prevent shareholders from competing with the company.
A shareholders agreement is a critical document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the shareholders in a company. By using a template, you can ensure that all the essential elements are included, and the document is clear, concise and legally binding. It is recommended to consult with a lawyer to ensure that the shareholders agreement is tailored to your unique situation.