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Why farmers should have Lasting Powers of Attorney in 2021

12 August 2021 Written by Ware & Kay Solicitors Category: Farming & Agriculture

IMG 4401 high res 400x300With 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:

  • a financial LPA - this gives your attorneys the power to manage matters such as running your bank accounts, dealing with your investments, paying your bills, applying for benefits, and selling your property and buying a new one if you are incapacitated.
  • a health and welfare LPA - this lets your attorneys make day-to-day decisions for you if you lose mental capacity and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. This includes decisions about your diet, personal routine, medical care, where you should live, or whether to continue life-sustaining treatment.

What are the benefits of having an 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.

Who should you appoint as your attorney?

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.

How a solicitor can help

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.

For further information contact Laura Carter, in the private client law team at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors on 01653 692247.

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