Let’s Do Business Powers of Attorney
As a business owner (director, partner or sole trader), you commit to years of hard work to start-up, build and successfully manage your practice.
It therefore makes commercial sense to take the time to consider how to safeguard your business and in particular, how you would want your business to be run if you became incapacitated due to illness or injury. A lasting power of attorney could assist with protecting the future of your business.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A LPA is a legal document that enables any person over the age of 18 with mental capacity to choose another individual(s) to make decisions on their behalf. You can make a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs (which can cover business interests) and also health and welfare.
Before preparing a business LPA, you should check your company’s articles of association, partnership/ shareholder agreements to ensure there are no restrictions on delegating your authority. If any restrictions exist, this is normally not an issue as documents can be amended.
What can a business attorney do on your behalf?
An attorney can carry out the following, which they may otherwise not be entitled to do:
- Invest in assets (including buying and selling property);
- Enter into contractual obligations;
- Access bank statements and open/close bank accounts;
- Organise insurance;
- Deal with tax and employment matters (for e.g. paying employees their salaries); and
- Handle work health and safety issues.
Who should you choose to be your business attorney?
Identifying a suitable attorney is important. An attorney should be someone who is trustworthy, competent and reliable, with the necessary skills to carry out the tasks required by your business.
It is common for business owners to do two separate LPAs; one for general property/financial affairs and one solely for their business. This allows you to use different attorneys for each LPA as you may wish to use a family member for general affairs and a business partner for your business LPA. It is also possible to appoint several attorneys who handle different aspects of your business and to state in your LPA that attorneys must consult each other before making any decisions.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a regulated profession, for e.g. a solicitor, you are required to appoint an attorney who is also regulated by the relevant professional body.
Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP can help you prepare a business LPA. Please contact Ann Coutts (Epping), Phillip Bazley or Robin Cearns (both based in Loughton) on 01992 578 642.