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Commercial Lasting Powers of Attorney - Getting Down to Business

As the awareness and popularity of Lasting Powers of Attorneys steadily grows, business owners are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of putting in place Business Lasting Powers of Attorney to deal specifically with their commercial assets in the event that they were to become seriously ill or lose mental capacity. For business owners (be it sole traders, partners or company directors) the consequences of unforeseen incapacity can have a devastating impact on their business and its employees.

Whilst there is often the assumption that a trusted colleague or family member could simply ‘step in’ in the event of an emergency, this is not legally the case. In the absence of a formally appointed attorney, even the most basic of business operation (such as access to business accounts, payment of staff and the continuation of day to day running) would cease. The damage to a business in the event of this could be significant, and a Business Lasting Power of Attorney is a vital part of any continuity and crisis management plan.

As part of such planning, any Articles of Association or Partnership Agreements should be reviewed to ensure that they are compliant with current legislation and the terms of the Lasting Power of Attorney

Once in place, a Business Lasting Power of Attorney will allow the attorney (the person appointed) to manage the business as and when needed. It does not affect the rights or ability of the donor (the person making the document) to continue managing their affairs so long as they are able and willing to do so. For this reason, a Business Lasting Power of Attorney may also be useful for business owners who travel abroad frequently, as the document can be used while the business owner still has capacity but is out of the country.

Whilst it is possible to have one Property & Financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney to deal with both your personal affairs and your business interests, it is strongly advisable to have two separate documents which deal independently and specifically with separate affairs. In many cases, it may not be appropriate for the same person to make both personal and business decisions due to a potential conflict of interests. It is also important that an attorney for business understands the nature and dynamic of the business in question, and how it should be managed on your behalf.

For further information or to discuss putting place a Business Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact Katie Kenealy on 01633 413500 or katie.kenealy@rdplaw.co.uk

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