Lasting Power of Attorney warning for farmers
The importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney in the farming industry is being highlighted by a legal expert.
Georgina Smith, solicitor in the Wills & Estate Planning team at regional law firm Napthens, a long-standing NFU panel firm, points out that farm owners could face issues which affect their ability to run the business and even make decisions themselves.
A useful way of addressing this and protecting a business and family is via a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPoA) - a legal document which can be prepared to allow someone else to help an individual make decisions, or make them on their behalf if necessary.
Georgina said: “Statistics show that agriculture remains one of most dangerous industries in the UK. This will come as no surprise to those involved.
“As part of future-proofing a farm business, the issue of making decisions about the business must be considered.
“There may be issues related to injuries which could impact someone’s decision making ability, or perhaps a medical diagnosis such as dementia.
“Anyone who is 18 who has capacity can make a Lasting Power of Attorney. There are two types, one to plan for property and financial affairs, the other for health and welfare.
“Both types should usually be considered – historically many people focus on the property and financial affairs LPoA – often accompanied by a partnership agreement – but it is difficult to predict what assistance may be needed in the future.
“This will ensure that the attorney/s can make decisions about matters relating to the farming business –– but also that the needs of the individual are addressed by the Health and Welfare LPoA.”
The Property and Financial affairs LPoA will allow decisions to be made about matters relating to property, bank accounts and also the business. The Health and Welfare LPoA allows an attorney/s to make decisions, if an individual is unable, about everything from the daily routine to decisions over life sustaining treatment.
Georgina continued: “In effect, an LPoA is a like an insurance policy. Nobody can know if the documents will be needed but if something does happen, they can be assured that the farming business, along with any family, are protected as decisions are still able to be made.”