As Coronavirus spreads throughout the country, it can no longer be viewed as something that will only affect the vulnerable.
If only one person is authorised to make financial decisions, you need to think about what will happen if they become temporarily incapacitated by COVID-19.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) could assign specific authority to someone else whilst you are unable to work, but few business owners have these in place. LPA’s must be lodged with the Office of the Public Guardian and usually take up to 2 months (sometimes longer) to become legal. If you do not have an LPA already, it could be too late to set one up before you need it.
The solution is a General Power of Attorney (GPA), which can be drafted by a solicitor and is valid from the moment it is executed. A GPA is usually valid for 12 months and can be as specific or general as you want it to be, authorising a named person to undertake defined business functions on your behalf and, if necessary, covering your personal finances too.
We recommend that all small and medium sized business owners who do not have a contingency in place execute a General Power of Attorney, whilst simultaneously registering a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Although we would not advise you to wait until the last minute, it is possible to put an urgent General Power of Attorney in place if you start to show symptoms of illness.
For further information please contact our resident Private Wealth Specialist Sangeeta Rabadia.