A Swansea based firm which specialises in estate planning, is warning local business owners that their companies could fail if they become ill without having organised a Business Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The warning follows a case that Gorseinon based Compass Wills and Estate Planning managed, where a business partner sadly suffered a stroke that left him brain damaged. Because there was no LPA in place, all business decisions needed to be put on hold. The knock-on effect that this had on the business at a difficult time was significant – transactions were unable to be completed and there was a delay in staff being paid. Previously this would not have been the case as family members or trusted colleagues could have stepped in to make decisions right away. But in 2013 the Mental Health (Discrimination) Act was introduced to protect the rights of any individual that lost their mental capacity, ie, the ability to make their own decisions. Now, if a person loses mental capacity – out of the blue or expected – an application must be made to the Office of the Public Guardian to manage their business affairs. This applies even to the wives or husbands of the person that has lost their mental capacity. It’s an expensive process which can take months – meanwhile the business is left hanging. Alyson Dyer, partner at Compass Wills and Estate Planning said: “Whilst many business owners may think there is an automatic right to deal with another person’s affairs, there quite simply isn’t. And although it’s a natural hope that this kind of situation will never arise, unfortunately sometimes it does. By putting a LPA in place, any risk is minimised and a business that no doubt took a great deal of work to build, will be in safe hands.” Wayne Dyer, also a partner at Compass Will and Estate planning commented: “Applying for a business LPA is a simple process but it does need some consideration and forward planning. You need to choose someone with a knowledge of your business and someone you can trust to make the right decision, and then there are considerations such as whether you want more than one lasting power of attorney. Basically, it’s never too soon to think about this!” Compass Wills and Estate Planning has been providing expert advice to businesses and personal clients throughout the UK for X years. The company focuses on offering an affordable service that is personalised to ensure that people can protect what they’ve worked hard for.