The heart-breaking experience of TV presenter Kate Garraway and her husband highlights the value of drawing up Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) to protect your future.
Jane Oakley, Private Client Legal Executive in our Wills, Probate & Inheritance team reports.
Kates’s husband Derek Draper suffered a terrible reaction to Covid and still has a long way to go in his recovery.
The Good Morning Britain star said that the two of them had discussed assigning one another power of attorney before the pandemic started.
Sadly, they didn’t get around to doing so before Derek fell ill.
It made the terrible situation even more distressing as Kate was unable to access their joint savings, or Derek’s bank or credit card accounts or refinance their mortgage.
With Derek unable to sign any documents, she even had to pay £900 to replace a mobile phone that would have been free with Derek’s signature.
Data protection regulations mean that she doesn’t have the legal right to see his medical notes, despite being next-of-kin.
She told the Times newspaper that her legal situation is “much more complicated”, than if they had drawn up LPAs so she could assume control of their affairs.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents that enable you take control of your future while you are still healthy by nominating someone you trust such as a family member to act on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.
The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.
There are safeguards to prevent the system being abused so you can prepare for the possibility of ill health secure in the knowledge that you can leave important decisions in the hands of someone you trust.
If you don’t have such arrangements in place, your family may have to go through complicated and time-consuming legal processes just to get the authority to help run your affairs for you. That can create extra stress at a time when they will already be worried about you and your failing health.
If you would like any advice about Lasting Powers of Attorney or to chat to someone about how to prepare for your future, please contact Jane on 01768 862326 or click here to send an email.