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Secure your future with a Shareholder Agreement.

This is your business. Define the rights and obligations of your co-founders and investors from the start.

$1,200 for Basic — $1,800 for Complex

A group of shareholders

Not sure what you need? Book a free call with our Legal Concierge.

Build the foundation of your business.

Getting a custom-built Shareholder Agreement means clearly outlining who gets to make decisions and ultimately run the business. Make sure you get it right.

Happy business owners with a shareholder agreement.

Shareholder Agreements are critical for startups.

Your business is going to grow.

Enable your corporation to easily and fairly adjust the ownerships structure so it can grow and adapt without you giving up control.

Minimize conflict between shareholders.

Ensure that shareholders know the rules for owning a piece of your company, like how to buy, sell, and calculate the value of shares.

Grow without compromising.

Establish an ownership structure that works for your goals while still presenting an attractive option to outside investors.

What's covered in a Shareholder Agreement?

You'll have a kick-off call so your lawyer can learn about your goals and the key clauses to include in your agreement. They will let you know whether you need a Basic Agreement or a Complex Agreement. Learn more about the differences on the Info Sheet below.

Picture of a business owner booking a shareholders agreement.

Your Shareholder Agreement

1. Capitalization table

Your cap table defines who owns the company and how much. It lives with your minute book and gives context for the Agreement.

2. Custom clauses

Claim First Refusal, Piggyback or Drag-along Rights, Shotgun Clauses, and more. A lawyer can help you figure out what you need.

3. Protection against the unknown

Prevent catastrophe by clearly identifying what happens when a shareholder dies, gets divorced, becomes disabled, or disappears.

4. Evaluate your shares

Outline the formula that calculates the value of the company. This is important for when you raise money and issue options.

How do Shareholder Agreements work?

A lady booking a call with a lawyer

1. Book your kick-off call

Pick a lawyer to discuss your goals and business needs.

A business owner discussing their agreement over the phone

2. Build your agreement

Work with your lawyer to draft the perfect agreement for you.

A lawyer drafting a shareholders' agreement for a client

3. Receive the agreement

Receive a digital copy ready to be printed and signed.

Get a Shareholder Agreement

The easiest way to get an agreement you can rely on.

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between a Basic and Complex Shareholder Agreement?

Shareholder Agreements are considered Basic if the corporation:

  • Uses a closely held business model
  • Doesn't plan to add future shareholders
  • Has only issued a single class of shares

Shareholder Agreements become Complex if (but not limited to) the corporation:

  • Is scale oriented and plans to raise funds
  • Has issued multiple classes of shares
  • Has varying levels of shareholder approval
  • Requires shareholders to contribute additional capital
  • Is a joint venture corporation (JVC)

How long do Shareholder Agreements take to draft?

Typically, from the time of your kick-off call you can expect to have your final Shareholder Agreement within 2 weeks. It could take a bit longer if your needs are atypical, negotiations are complex, a family trust is involved, or if other shareholders are exercising their right to seek independent legal advice.

Do I need anything else?

Having shareholders comes with many other responsibilities and legal tasks. Presumably, you’ll be raising capital and that requires Directors Resolutions approving new shareholders, updating your minutebooks and capitalization tables, marking and issuance of Share Certificates, stock options plans, and much more. A good lawyer can help you identify exactly what your situation requires and offer a custom package that meets your needs and saves you money.

Are Shareholder Agreements required?

No, it is not a requirement that every corporation has a Shareholder Agreement in place. Companies generally do not need them if there is only one shareholder. However, if there are two or more shareholders involved (this means anyone who invests or co-founds a business), a Shareholder Agreement is essential.

Where and how is a Shareholder Agreement kept?

There’s no regulation, but most corporations keep their Shareholder Agreement in their minute book. This is a good practice because it is intimately connected to all other corporate documents and should be reviewed regularly alongside the minute book. If you need help with your minute book and your Annual Corporate Return, we can do that too!

Can I use a Shareholder Agreement I found online, or a template?

A Shareholder Agreement might be one of the most complex and unique agreements that ever gets drafted for your corporation. No two relationships between co-founders are the same and every business has some level of nuance that can’t be properly captured in a template or automated agreement. Having an experienced lawyer draft a proper Shareholder Agreement from the outset can save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Will I be able to communicate with my lawyer after the kickoff call?

Yes, absolutely. You can use the Goodlawyer platform to send messages and files. If substantially more communication is needed, your lawyer may request another call.

Where can I learn more about Shareholder Agreements?

We have a walkthrough about Shareholder Agreements on our blog.

Not sure what you need? Book a free call with our Legal Concierge.

Goodlawyer is an interactive online service that makes it faster and easier for clients to find and hire legal help solely based on their preferences. We are not a law firm, do not provide any legal services, legal advice or “lawyer referral services” and do not provide or participate in any legal representation.

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