Many people think that it is only older people who need to put Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPAs) in place. However, losing capacity does not always mean dementia. You may be in an accident which leaves you unable to manage your affairs, or you could have a stroke which suddenly affects your ability to deal with your day-to-day life. You might be away on holiday and need someone to make decisions for you whilst you are away.
For business owners in particular this can cause serious problems. If you were a director in a business and you lost capacity, what would happen if there was no LPA in place? The continuity and security of the business may be affected, there may be an insurance risk, and the company bank account may be frozen once the bank becomes aware of the director’s incapacity. How long could your company survive without a key member of the business?
This is why it is so important for a business owner to have an LPA in place. An LPA is a legal document which enables you to appoint a specific person or people (an “attorney”) to make decisions concerning your business interests on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. Each type of LPA can be tailored to your individual needs. A person can have both a Property & Financial Affairs LPA for their personal affairs and one for their business affairs but should consider who would be most suitable to take on the role of attorney for each document.
The benefit of having an LPA for your business decisions is that you are able to appoint someone who understands the industry and can carry on your role if you are temporarily or permanently unable to. It is important to choose someone who would have a good relationship with the other members of the business, as well as having the necessary time, skill and experience required for the role. If you regained capacity, then you could take back control and the LPA would sit in the background for as long as necessary.
If you do not have an LPA, an application may be made to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed on your behalf. This process can take four to six months and in some cases, even longer. There is also no guarantee that the Court will appoint the same person that the business owner would have chosen.
We can help guide you through the process of putting an LPA in place. We can discuss your business with you and tailor the LPA to your specific needs. Business LPAs are suitable for sole traders, self-employed people, directors of a company and partners within a partnership (if the director’s or partner’s incapacity is not already covered by the company’s articles or partnership agreement).
If you would like any further information about Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like to book an appointment, please call 01256 320555 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.