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Ask The Legal Expert: LPAs and the Farm Business.

View profile for Beverley Bowen
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Associate Solicitor Beverly Bowen talks about a very common legal issue– the importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney when running a farming business.

I am a farmer in partnership with my parents – an arrangement which has suited us all well. But my father now has some serious health issues. Do we need to do anything to put us all on a safe footing legally, in case his health fails?

It is very common for farms to be run by families in partnership and the issue you have alluded to is a common one too.

I hope you have many more years of farming together as a family but one thing you should do is to prepare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) documents for you all now, to prepare for any potential problems which could arise if your father – or any other member of the partnership – faces health problems which mean they are no longer able to deal with their property and financial affairs.

The document would allow your father to appoint an attorney to make decisions on his behalf if he is unable to – most commonly because of ill health or injury.

Many people realise the importance of making a Will but they are less aware of the value of a Lasting Power of Attorney.  But the document ensures that a business can continue to function as normal if a member of a business partnership is unable, for example, to authorise payments. That scenario could potentially put business operations on hold for months and it could have a serious impact upon cash flow and upon the smooth running of the company.

I would advise you to consult a solicitor in order to draw up the documents. They can include any details which are relevant to you and your business affairs. It then needs to be signed by all parties and witnessed. The documents should then be registered with the Office of The Public Guardian. The process takes a matter of a few weeks but it can give you all long-term peace of mind.

For specialist legal advice, call Beverley Bowen at JCP Solicitors Rural Practice Team in Carmarthen on: 01267 266944 or email: beverley.bowen@jcpsolicitors.co.uk

*The question posed in this blog is based on a hypothetical situation.