Business owners are being urged to make 2016 the year they get their affairs in order and invest in a Lasting Power of Attorney to protect their livelihood in case of sudden accidents or illnesses.
Sophie Yates, a lawyer with FBC Manby Bowdler, said not enough people understand the potentially devastating effect that a sudden inability to deal with their business affairs could have.
“Many people think that a Lasting Power of Attorney is something you only need when you’re elderly or for personal reasons but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
“An LPA is important for anyone as you could be incapacitated at any time but it’s especially significant for business owners, whether you’re a sole trader, have a business partner or are a company director.
“Even if you have a team of people working for you, they may not have the authority to do things like pay employees or suppliers and that could put your business under serious financial strain.”
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be made for issues relating to your health and welfare, and/or your property and financial affairs so a family member, friend or colleague could act on your behalf if you are temporarily unable to.
Sophie added: “You can choose a ‘business minded attorney’ who can focus specifically on your professional matters rather than your personal affairs. It should be someone who has a sufficient understanding of the business but there is a lot to consider when you choose an attorney.
“You need to ensure the appointment would not conflict with the running of the business or cause voting issues. A company director needs to look at it alongside the Memorandum and Articles of Association of any business but a legal adviser can help with that.”
“You have to think of an LPA as something you would have along with critical illness cover or car insurance – it’s better to have one and not need it, than not to have one and need it! If you were to become incapacitated without an LPA, the Court of Protection would appoint someone as your deputy.
“This would be someone you might not have chosen yourself, it will incur higher costs and they might not understand your business. Think of an LPA as another insurance policy to make sure your business continues to thrive.”
Sophie Yates can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01743 284145.