There has been much focus on Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) recently, especially as they are important for those who have lost capacity and require people they trust to manage their affairs. There has been less talk about LPAs for businesses which can provide protection for a business owner, providing a safety net should something happen.
Without an LPA in place, the Court of Protection will need to appoint a deputy, which can take time, meaning a business could quickly end up without access to bank accounts or the ability to make important decisions. It is also expensive for a deputy to be appointed, which can cause further stress to the business.
If a business LPA is in place, the nominated person, the attorney, will be able to temporarily take over the running of the businesses with the ability to deal with important decisions and sign contracts.
Although unlikely to be used, having an LPA in place can ensure that not only is the business kept running, those who rely on the business to remain stable, such as employees and suppliers, will have their roles secured.
An LPA does not mean that the attorney will remain permanently; they are required to “so far as reasonably practicable, permit and encourage the person to participate, or to improve their ability to participate, as fully as possible in any act done for them and any decision affecting them.” This means that a business owner will be involved in decision making.
A business LPA is created by completing an LPF1 form, which must be signed by a witness, the chosen attorney and a certificate provider. A certificate provider ensures that the decision has not been made whilst under pressure and that the person awarding the power understands the consequences.
The registration fee for business LPA with the Office of Public Guardian is currently £82, plus the professional fee for its preparation. These are a small charge compared to the potential cost to the business in the absence of an LPA.
An additional bonus for business owners is the cost of an LPA is an allowable business expense. Whereas this is not the case when setting up an LPA for non-business purposes.