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Business owners - why you need a will & LPA
In these very strange and difficult times, it is essential that we all think about making a will if we do not already have one in place.
A will allows you to leave your estate to the people or charities you want to benefit after your death, rather than the State dictating where it goes.
It is a serious truth that if you do not have a will then friends, unmarried partners and loved ones that you may have wanted to inherit will not.
Why is it important for business owners to have a will and lasting powers of attorney?
If you have a business, it may be set up so that the business will continue after your death, but this may not always be the case. It is important that you set out in a will what you would like to happen to your business or to who will run your business.
The same goes for lasting powers of attorney.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a document which has the potential to permit a trusted person to assist you with your financial or your health decisions if you are unable to deal with matters yourself. LPAs are arranged and registered at the court whilst you have the capacity to deal with matters yourself and are there ready to use at a time when you do not.
There are two types of LPA, one deals with property and financial affairs and the other with health and welfare.
The property and financial affairs LPA
This gives the power to your attorneys to help you manage your property, businesses, assets, bank accounts, investments etc.
This LPA can be used whilst you have mental capacity but are physically unwell, in which case you tell your attorneys what you would like them to help you with. Also, and most importantly, if you lose mental capacity your attorneys can then deal with matters for you in accordance with your wishes.
The health and welfare LPA
This gives the power to attorneys to consider where you live, what care you receive and the power, in accordance with your wishes, to consent or refuse life-sustaining treatment. This LPA can only be used when you have lost capacity.
Giving another person the ability to act in key areas of your life and business is an extremely important step. When creating LPAs, it is important to ensure that the documents adhere to important safeguards in terms of the preparation and registration and, in some instances, should contain specific legal wording.
Your appointed attorneys should be people you trust to deal with your affairs in accordance with your wishes. You can choose anyone as long as they are over the age of 18 and you are confident that they could understand and appreciate the important duties. It is also possible to appoint a solicitor as your attorney who would also be under a duty to act in your best interests.
It is important to take advice when making these decisions so that the documents can be tailored to your needs.
Why you should have legal advice from a solicitor
Seeking legal advice from a solicitor on completing LPAs is very important. It is imperative to ensure there is no room for any ambiguity in your wishes. LPAs should be wholly controlled by you and therefore reflect your wishes.
If you are considering making a will or lasting power or attorney, or simply wish to get some more information, then please contact our specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate team.