Kate Garraway: Finding Derek. Why a Lasting Power of Attorney is essential
Following the documentary ‘Kate Garraway: Finding Derek’ specialist solicitor Heledd Wyn discusses why it is so important for people to think about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney.
It is understandable that most people do not want to think about what would happen to them should they ever fall ill or be involved in an accident, which then resulted in them being unable to make decisions for themselves.
Unfortunately, for Kate Garraway and her husband Derek Draper they are now facing a very difficult situation after Derek contracted COVID-19 back in March 2020. In what has been a year-long battle with illness their situation has been made even more complicated by the lack of legal protection she and Derek had in place. Kate was unable to access funds to manage her husband’s care or refinance her mortgage. She didn’t even have the legal right to see his medical notes, owing to data protection.
Research by organisation Solicitors for the Elderly SFE, shows that 65% of us think our next-of-kin will be able to make medical and care decisions for us if we are no longer able to. In reality, this isn’t the case unless a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is in place. Whilst there’s been a rise in the number of enquiries made about Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) during the pandemic, only 22% of people in the UK actually have one.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that can be drawn to appoint a person or persons to make personal health and welfare decisions on your behalf or handle your finances should you become incapable or unwilling to do so.
- Health & Welfare – includes things related to your daily routine, medical care, receiving life-sustaining treatments or decisions on moving into a care home.
- Property & Finances – includes things related to decisions on managing your bank account, paying bills, pensions, or benefit payments, or selling your home.
Kate Garraway: Finding Derek
In an emotional documentary aired this week, Kate Garraway opened up about the practical problems she has been experiencing in relation to her husband Derek’s condition.
“One of the practical problems – like many things, the car is entirely in Derek’s name, the insurance is in Derek’s name, a lot of our bank accounts. There are lots of financial goings on which are making life very complicated because I can’t get access to things because legally, I haven’t got power of attorney.”
Without an LPA Kate was unable to handle Derek’s affairs during his incapacity. With an LPA in place Kate and her family would have been able to focus on dealing with the emotional difficulties of their father/husband being ill. The worry of handling household finances and insurances would have been one less thing they needed to worry about.
The situation is incredibly saddening and clearly not a situation anybody would want to be in, although their story does highlight the importance of having an LPA in place as a security measure for yourself and your loved ones.
To avoid this difficult kind of legal situation it’s important to use a specialist lawyer who is experienced in this area of the law, and is trained to support people making these crucial, complex and difficult decisions. According to Which? 22,000 LPAs are rejected every year so it’s essential that you get your legal documents right.
Specialist Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors
Our team of specialist solicitors are on hand to guide you through every stage of the process. We will also assist you with preparing and registering the documents, so that your LPAs are valid and ready for use should the time come, avoiding delays and financial difficulties in future.
- Clear, impartial advice on your options from specialist solicitors
- A flexible service with fixed fees for each stage of the LPA process
- Assistance to attorneys appointed under an LPA in carrying out their duties
- Assistance with general Powers of Attorney
For advice about Lasting Powers or Attorney, financial arrangements, or any aspect of long-term and elderly care, please contact our friendly team of specialist care solicitors. Call 0117 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.