Over the last year, we have seen the story of TV presenter Kate Garraway and her husband, Derek Draper, on television and in the news. Last week saw a documentary, “Kate Garraway: Finding Derek”, which told the story of their struggles since Mr Draper was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in March 2020.
The documentary showed that the heart-breaking story of Derek’s year-long battle with Coronavirus, has been further complicated by the fact that the couple had very little legal protection in place. For example, Kate was unable to access funds to manage Derek’s medical care; and unable to refinance her mortgage.
Derek Draper is 53 years old and, pre-Covid was in good health. I am sure that the couple did not think they needed to consider such things. Indeed, none of us like to think about what might happen if we become ill or injured. However, planning for such an eventuality is important. Making a Lasting Powers of Attorney can ensure that your loved ones can deal simply with your affairs.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document giving your nominated person (your ‘attorney’) the power to make certain decisions on your behalf if you become ill or injured. There are two types of LPA.
Health and Welfare LPA
Research by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) shows that 65% of us think that our next of kin will make medical and care decisions for us if we are no longer able to. However, this is not in fact the case unless we have made a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
If you have made a Health and Welfare LPA, your attorney will be able to make decisions about, for example, the care and treatment you receive, where you will live and who will visit you. If you do not have an LPA, your loved ones will be left in a difficult position. The relevant authorities will be responsible for making decisions for you, such as medical professionals, care providers and social services.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
Making a property and financial affairs LPA means that your attorney can make decisions about things such as your bank accounts, mortgage and paying bills. On the consequences of not having a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, Kate Garraway said;
“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.”
What should I do?
We recommend that everyone considers making LPAs, no matter their age or state of health. As Mr Draper and Ms Garraway have shown us, we do not know what is around the corner. Making LPAs can give you the peace of mind that, should you become ill or injured in the future, your loved ones will have one less thing to worry about.
For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions. If you would like to discuss making an LPA, call us today on 0800 988 7756.