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Business associates ‘not trusted in time of crisis’

A business partner or colleague is a long way down the order when it comes to being trusted to make crucial decisions about the future if an individual was ever deemed not mentally capable, according to a new survey.

Only one per cent of adults polled in a YouGov survey commissioned by North West law firm Napthens said they would trust a business partner or associate to make decisions on their behalf if they were incapacitated.

Some 61 per cent said they would rather trust their spouse or domestic partner, 37 per cent would trust their parents and 36 per cent their children. Fourteen per cent would even turn to their best friend before a business associate, according to the survey.

Kathryn Harwood, Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Napthens, said: “We can’t emphasise enough how important a legally binding document such as a Lasting Power of Attorney is to get into place earlier rather than later.

“There are often crucial decisions to be made about a person’s life including business and finances so such a document provides clarity for all concerned, whoever is given the power of attorney.”

Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) are becoming increasingly popular – allowing individuals to appoint a trusted person to make future decisions on their behalf if they were to lose mental capacity – and were up to a record of more than 800,000 last year.

There are two types of LPA, one which grants legal authority for decisions regarding financial and property affairs and can be arranged to take immediate effect. A health and welfare LPA will only come into effect on incapacity and can cover day-to-day personal health matters right through to decisions regarding ‘life-sustaining’ treatment.