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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pick a lawyer to discuss your goals and business needs.
Work with your lawyer to draft the perfect agreement for you.
Receive a digital copy ready to be printed and signed.
The easiest way to get an agreement you can rely on.
Shareholder Agreements are considered Basic if the corporation:
Shareholder Agreements become Complex if (but not limited to) the corporation:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We have a walkthrough about Shareholder Agreements on our blog.
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