Legal Blog

The Crucial Importance of Shareholder Agreements

shareholders agreement document sitting on a wooden desk surrounded by a coffee cup, crumpled up paper and a penWhen expanding your current FedEx business or embarking on a new business venture, individuals often join together to share resources instead of going at it alone. When forming a corporation that involves more than one shareholder or adding a shareholder to a single-shareholder entity, it is crucial to establish a shareholder agreement between all parties involved. Below are some reasons why creating a shareholder agreement is so important and why it’s especially essential when adding shareholders.


  1. Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities

A shareholder agreement clarifies each shareholder’s roles, responsibilities, and expectations. It outlines the rights and obligations of each party, including how decisions will be made and how the company will be managed. Shareholder agreements also safeguard minority shareholders from being outvoted by the majority.


  1. Dispute Resolution

Shareholder agreements make it easier to resolve potential disputes between shareholders. The agreement can establish a dispute resolution process, such as mediation or arbitration. The process will help ensure that any disagreements do not escalate into legal battles that could jeopardize the business.


  1. Protection for Minority Shareholders

Minority shareholders need to protect themselves from being disadvantaged compared to the majority shareholders. Shareholder agreements can assist with this by establishing clear rules and outlining the rights of minority stakeholders. For example, it might ensure that no major decisions or changes can be made without the approval of all shareholders.


  1. Preparing for the Future

Shareholder agreements can help prepare for the future. It can establish processes for adding new shareholders and outline the terms and conditions of any future sale of the company. Being prepared for future possibilities can provide a sense of control and stability that benefits everyone involved with the company.


  1. Compliance with State Laws

In many states, shareholder agreements are legally required. But even in cases where it’s not required by law, it’s vital to have one in place. In some cases, not having a shareholder agreement could lead to significant disputes that could seriously impact the business.



Shareholder agreements are intended to establish clear expectations, ensure fair treatment of minority shareholders, provide a roadmap for dispute resolution, and prepare for future possibilities. It is essential for business owners to create a well-thought-out shareholder agreement that is comprehensive, detailed, and legally binding. By doing so, business owners can protect their investments, minimize the risk of disputes, and help guarantee the company’s long-term health.

ABOUT SARAH SAWYER| 410.209.6413

As an experienced business advisor and litigator, Sarah works with business owners to implement policies and practices that keep their businesses running smoothly, helps them avoid expensive legal battles, and fights for them when litigation arises. Sarah focuses her practice on providing her clients with general business advice, drafting and analyzing employment documents ranging from employment agreements and severance agreements to employee handbooks, and litigating all aspects of general civil and commercial disputes.