If you are a business owner, you need to be prepared in the event that you lack the ability to deal with your business affairs, such as if you were away abroad, in an accident or became seriously unwell.

Perhaps you would assume that your family can step in and make decisions for you, but this is unfortunately not the case as they have no legal right to do so.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint attorneys to act on your behalf, either in relation to your business or your personal affairs (or both!).

Specifically with regard to your business, an LPA is a very important document as it allows for the continuous smooth running of the business, ensuring that those who have been appointed can act right away. Without this, who can settle invoices, pay wages or sign cheques?

LPAs can be put into place whether you are a sole trader, in a partnership or a director of a company. The first step is simply to check the paperwork!

Make sure the partnership agreement doesn’t already contain a clause about what would happen if you could not act, or the company’s articles of association if you are a director. Not all agreements will cover this scenario adequately and even if they do, it might be the case that you need an LPA in any event to protect your own interests. Sole traders will almost certainly need an LPA as the business is not a separate legal entity so they will need to give someone else the power to act for them.

Without an LPA, an application to the Court of Protection may be necessary to appoint a deputy to act on your behalf. This process can take more than 6 months to do, can be very costly and it is ultimately up to the court as to who is appointed, taking the decision out of your hands.

At Woollcombe Yonge, we have a dedicated team who can answer any query you may have about protecting your business and putting an LPAs in place. Get in touch by calling us on 01752 827920 or email us at rl@wysolicitors.co.uk