When you start a company with other founders, it`s important to have a shareholder agreement in place to define the rights and responsibilities of each shareholder. This legal document sets out the rules for how the company is run, what happens if a shareholder wants to sell their shares, and how decisions are made.
There are several different forms of shareholder agreement, but the most common ones are:
1. Unanimous shareholder agreement (USA) – This agreement is signed by all shareholders and outlines the rights and obligations of each shareholder. The USA is the most comprehensive form of shareholder agreement, as it covers every aspect of the company`s operations.
2. Standard shareholder agreement – This agreement is similar to the USA but may not cover all aspects of the company`s operations. It usually outlines the decision-making process, how shares can be sold, and how disputes are resolved.
3. Articles of association – These are the company`s internal rules and regulations. They may include information about the appointment of directors, dividend payments, and shareholder meetings.
Regardless of the form of shareholder agreement you choose, there are several key elements that should be included in the document:
1. Shareholder rights and obligations – This section should outline the rights and responsibilities of each shareholder, including their voting rights and how decisions are made.
2. Share transfer restrictions – This section should outline how shares can be sold or transferred and what happens in the event of a shareholder`s death or disability.
3. Dispute resolution – This section should outline how disputes between shareholders will be resolved, whether through mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
4. Confidentiality and non-compete agreements – These clauses should outline what information is confidential and how long a shareholder must wait before competing with the company.
Overall, having a shareholder agreement in place ensures that all shareholders are on the same page and helps prevent disputes down the road. It`s important to work with a lawyer experienced in corporate law to ensure your agreement is legally sound and comprehensive.