By Andrew Jack Wills and Probate Solicitor with AMD Solicitors
Although it is important for everyone to consider who can handle their affairs in the event of unexpected incapacity, it is particularly vital if you are the owner of a small business. The prudent owner will have made a will and have given careful consideration to the arrangements that need to be specifically in place to enable the smooth running of the business during the administration period. However, often busy owners neglect to consider that similar attention needs to be given to the lifetime situation as for the family of a business owner and for their employees not to have done so can be disastrous.
Aside from being able to act under a power of Attorney the only other way of acquiring legal authority to act on the business owner’s behalf is a cumbersome and time consuming application to the Court of Protection to be appointed Deputy. In the intervening period your business may be effectively in limbo for months meaning amongst other things, staff will not be paid and neither will suppliers. Orders can not be fulfilled and even mundane things such as insurance cannot be arranged . In the worst case scenario business bank accounts may not be capable of being operated unless mandates have already been granted. Your business may effectively have ground to a halt.
A lasting power of attorney can cover all your financial affairs or you can if you wish consider having one power drawn up for your personal financial affairs and another for your business. You could then for example have family members to deal with your personal finances and then appoint experts to deal with the running the business to ensure that the expertise is there and that the business runs smoothly.
No matter whether the lasting power of attorney is for your own finances or your business it is vital to remember that selection of your attorneys is key. Once appointed there is very little oversight and you will want to appoint attorneys that you trust absolutely and who have the necessary experience and expertise in finances.
This can be a complicated area and one where our specialist team can help, if you would like more information please contact us.