MOST people have heard of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in relation to their personal finances. An LPA is a legal document through which you authorise a chosen person or persons (an attorney/s) to make certain decisions on your behalf.

However, how many of you have considered it in relation to your business?

What would happen to your business if you were unable to make decisions? Your family are not automatically able to step in. Even if they were, would you want them too?

Why you may need an LPA for business

This could be for a number of reasons for example:

•  you were abroad on holiday or for business

•  you had an accident

•  you developed a medical condition that incapacitated you

In such circumstances, who will authorise the payment of bills, sign cheques, service a business loan, or pay salaries?

Is a Business LPA right for me?

A business LPA will be appropriate in most circumstances, but it’s important to first consider the type of business you own:

Sole Trader

If you are a sole trader, your business is not likely to have a separate legal entity from you. This means that appointing an attorney under a business LPA will be an effective way for you to make provision for the continuity of your business, in the event that you are incapacitated.


If you are a partner in a partnership that has several partners, check the terms of the partnership agreement. It may already adequately provide for the continuity of the business, in which case, a business LPA wouldn’t be necessary.

However, if you’re in doubt about the provision made in the partnership agreement, or you feel that an LPA may be required, you should seek advice on the wording of the LPA, to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with the provisions already made in the partnership agreement.


If you’re a director of a company, check the company’s articles of association. Often, articles of association will provide for the termination of a director’s appointment in the event that the director loses capacity. If such a provision is not included in the articles of association, you may want to seek advice and consider including such a provision.

If you are the sole director of a small private company, the articles of association are not likely to simply terminate the director’s appointment, or there would be no one else to continue running the company. In such circumstances, a business LPA would be appropriate.

Can you make an LPA to cover your business and personal affairs?

It may be possible to have just the one LPA appointing attorneys to manage your personal assets and your business assets. However, it may not be appropriate for the same person to make both personal and business decisions, due to a potential conflict of interests. You could consider making an LPA appointing certain attorneys to manage your personal assets, and others to manage your business assets.

Fortunately, it’s possible to make more than one LPA. You could consider making one for your personal affairs and a separate one for your business affairs. Often, people like to keep their business affairs separate from their personal affairs, so this option tends to appeal.

What happens if you don’t make a Business LPA?

If you’re unable to make business decisions in the future, and have not made a business LPA, it may become necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy to act on your behalf.  The process can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee that the Court of Protection will choose someone you would have chosen.  It could also take more than six months before a deputy is appointed, during which time your business may be vulnerable and at risk.

To avoid disruption, it should be part of any business owner’s continuity plan and crisis management strategy to consider making a business LPA.

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