Wills & Power of Attorney
Looking After Business Owners
At McKenzie Legal, we don’t just wait until you ring us when a legal issue arises. We like to look after our clients long before then – we want to help you avoid issues and difficulties.
As we set out in other parts of this website, we want to work with your business to take pro-active steps to reduce the risks that all businesses face.
We want to do this with the owners of a business too, so that overall we help you, your business, and your family to avoid huge disruption, delays and expense later on.
We strongly advise all of our business-owning clients to have in place three crucial pieces of paper, so that all of their affairs really are in order and so that maximum protection is in place for your business, your family’s wealth, and your employees’ well-being.
The First Piece of Paper
The first piece of paper that we are referring to is a Will.
Many people believe that if you have a Will in place, all your affairs are sorted and you and your family will have nothing to worry about.
It is correct that having a Will in place can remove some uncertainty and can minimise tax. What is less well-known is that to really be of value, a Will needs to be very detailed and tailored to your precise circumstances. Many Wills fail to do that – they often fail to even mention, for example, who is going to bring children up! Also – the person making the Will must do things in a certain way if they are to make sure that their wishes are indeed carried out after they have passed away.
That kind of detailed exercise is simply not possible, in our view, where Wills are sold cheaply or online. They are hugely important, hugely personal documents and we are only prepared work with professional will-writers who do a thorough job for our clients. Working with them, we won’t cut corners. Saving money at this stage could cost you or your family a fortune later – a fortune in money, time, trauma and conflict.
The Second Piece of Paper
A properly drawn up and tailored Will can make things smooth and more certain when you pass away.
Nowadays though, people don’t always pass away in the same way – on the contrary, people are living longer and longer, but often without retaining the mental faculties they need to allow them to look after their own affairs.
If you are alive but do not have the mental capacity to manage your own financial or business or property affairs, then unless you have formally appointed and authorised someone to deal with them on your behalf, your family will be put to the time and expense of having to deal constantly with what is called the Court of Protection, the Government office that makes sure you and your assets are protected. It takes months and potentially lots of expense to get things done through the Court of Protection. Your family, your business, and your employees will suffer.
A far easier way of reducing the expense, trauma and time everything could take is for you now – while you have full capacity – to put in place the second piece of paper, which is called a Lasting Power of Attorney, to cover your property and financial affairs.
By this, you can choose someone you trust to do things for you in the event that you lose mental capacity later on. Your family will already be suffering at your decline in health, so at least, by having this second document in place, their trauma is not added to by the delay and cost of them having to deal with the Court of Protection.
The Third Piece of Paper
There is one last piece of jigsaw that you can put in place that goes even further towards making sure your wishes are attained, and making sure trauma to your family is minimised.
The third piece of paper is a different kind of Lasting Power of Attorney – it is one that deals with your Health and Well-Being. It means you can appoint someone to make decisions around your health, treatment and well-being, if you lose mental capacity; in accordance with preferences you can set out now whilst you have full mental capacity.
It may seem a long way away, but end-of-life welfare and treatment discussions may come to us all, and this second type of Lasting Power of Attorney means not only that you can go a long way towards getting or avoiding certain treatments, but it also means that your family doesn’t have to make decisions that may cause upset and even conflict later on.
Pulling all of this together
Hopefully you can now see more of what is needed for a business owner to truly have his or her affairs “in order”. During our work with you we will discuss these aspects with you and will be encouraging you throughout out to take the necessary action.