A Lasting Power of Attorney for business allows you to choose someone, for example a business partner, to act on your behalf if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. It is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs that has been limited to business matters only.
What is a business Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to choose somebody (an attorney) to make decisions about your business when you are unable to make decisions yourself.
It is restricted to your business matters only and cannot be used to make decisions about your personal finances and property.
How will it help?
It will help by ensuring that there is someone to make decisions about your business when you cannot make decisions yourself.
What happens if I do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy (similar to an attorney). The deputy will be chosen by a judge based on evidence presented to them in the court application.
The application can take around six months to complete although urgent and emergency applications can be submitted in certain circumstances.
What should I consider:
Do I need a separate Lasting Power of Attorney for business?
You may not need a separate Lasting Power of Attorney to cover your business affairs if you already have a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs. They are only useful should you wish to appoint different attorneys for personal financial affairs and your business financial affairs.
It is important to consider who is to act as your attorney. They will have a lot of control over your business and it is important you can trust them.
It is possible to appoint a professional to act for you but be aware that they will charge for their time.
You can appoint between one and four attorneys.
Your replacement attorneys act as back up in case your chosen attorneys cannot act.
How are your attorneys to act?
There are three main options:
- Jointly – all your attorneys must make decisions together. For example, they will each need to sign a cheque. It can cause problems if one of your attorneys die or cannot act.
- Jointly and severally – your attorneys can make decisions separately. For example, only one attorney would need to sign a cheque. This provides flexibility if one attorney dies or cannot act.
- It can cause problems if an attorney dies or cannot act.
Does your company articles or partnership agreement allow you to delegate to attorneys?
Your company articles and partnership agreement will need to be checked to confirm if you can delegate authority using a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Your Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. However, you do not have to register it immediately. The registration process takes around 10 to 12 weeks in total and this should be factored in when making a decision about when to register your Lasting Power of Attorney.