Protecting your farm

In the same way that insurance guards against the unexpected, a lasting power of attorney can give reassurance that the farm will be in safe hands, regardless of a change of circumstances.  

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows individuals to appoint one or more people to act on their behalf to make decisions, or to help make them, should they become unable to do so. There are two types of power of attorney – one to deal with property and financial affairs, and the other to deal with health and welfare.

LPAs are invaluable in protecting the farm should the farmer be unable to continue to take an active role through accident, illness or old age.  Without a LPA, there can be significant disruption and cost to the farming business as well as lasting impact on its operations. For example, without access to the bank account, the wages, mortgages, loans and invoices cannot be paid.  But with a LPA, attorneys can step into the farmer’s shoes and continue to run the farm.

When making a LPA it is imperative that individuals choose attorneys that they trust implicitly.  These can be family members, friends, or professionals. This is particularly important from a farming perspective, as the right ‘mix’ of individuals will be able to act on the farmer’s behalf, having the requisite knowledge.

Up to four attorneys can act; making individual or joint decisions. An extra level of protection is offered by appointing more than one attorney to oversee your affairs.  

Farmers notoriously never retire and it is a sad fact of life that capacity may become an issue due to age. However, the younger generation should also make a LPA.  Farms can be dangerous places to work and it is wise to have a contingence in place should the worst happen.  In all probability the barn will never burn down, but almost certainly insurance is in place to cover that eventuality. Wouldn’t anyone, therefore, take the same care of the farm and themselves in the event of incapacity - permanent or temporary? It could allow the farming business to continue, regardless of the circumstances.

If you would like more advice, please get in touch and we will discuss this further with you you can email me on caroline.dowding@birkettlong.co.uk or alternatively you can call me on 01206 217394.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.