Buy-sell agreements, which are also called buyout agreements, are used in business structures with multiple shareholders as a means of passing shares from one shareholder to another. Depending on the size of the company and the type of corporation, buyout agreements may be more limiting or restrictive. These business planning agreements generally go into effect when events, such as the death of a shareholder, occur. The purpose of the agreement is to protect other shareholders from complications and to deal with the disbursement of assets held by the departing shareholder.
Broadly speaking, the events that may trigger a shareholder agreement include death, divorce, retirement, personal bankruptcy, incapacitation or disability, and termination of employment with a company. They determine a wide range of details, including whether the company must buy out the shareholder's stock, who may buy it, how to measure its value and how payment will be made.