With the death count from Covid-19 now topping 152,000 and an estimated two million people suffering from long Covid in the UK, people’s worries about what would happen if they become incapacitated have been thrown into sharp focus.
Being rendered unable to work is a particular worry for farmers as the successful management of a farm takes a lot of hard (and often physical) work. It is vital for farmers to put measures in place to ensure the continuing success of their farming business in case they fall ill or are unable to carry on working.
A good measure is to have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) drawn up, which allows you to nominate someone to run your affairs while you are out of action. Laura Carter, private client law specialist at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton (part of Ware & Kay Solicitors with offices in York & Wetherby) outlines the benefits for farmers.
There are two kinds of LPA:
The advantage of an LPA is that you can set out in writing how you would like your affairs to be managed, giving guidance to your attorneys and place any limits on their powers as required. This means your affairs will be run according to your wishes until you are back on your feet.
If you do not have an LPA in place, an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection to have someone appointed as your deputy to run your affairs. This process can take months and is much more costly than registering an LPA.
You can select family members, friends or professionals to be your attorneys, as long as they are over 18, have mental capacity and are not bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order.
If you choose more than one attorney, you can appoint them to act jointly or give them the power to make joint or individual decisions. This latter option provides more flexibility as decisions can still be made if one attorney is not available. If attorneys are appointed on a joint basis only the LPA cannot be used if one of them dies.
An LPA gives your attorneys wide-ranging power over you and your affairs, so it is not something to be entered into lightly.
A specialist private client solicitor can talk you through your needs, helping you to decide which attorneys to choose and what sort of restrictions you would like to place on them. They can also make sure all the paperwork is correctly filled out and that your LPA is properly registered, and therefore valid, and one that truly reflects your wishes.