Kate Garraway faces legal difficulties without LPA

Wills, trust & probate - KBL Solicitors

Many of you will have seen the heart-breaking story that aired on ITV recently – Finding Derek, where GMB host and TV personality, Kate Garraway allowed cameras to document her story as husband Derek’s devastating year-long battle with Covid continues.

The already distressing change of events for Kate were complicated further by the lack legal provision / documentation to account for such a situation. Without the required legal authority (a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Deputyship Order granted by a Court), Kate was unable to access funds (ordinarily reliant upon without consideration), to provide for her husband’s care, refinance her mortgage or even change mobile phone contracts. She also didn’t have the legal right to see his medical notes, owing to data protection.

This upsetting situation acts as a timely reminder and demonstrates the need for any person with assets to arrange for the execution of a professionally drawn Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a document that allows you to choose someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf regarding your property and affairs should you become unable to do so. These decisions can only be made on your behalf when the LPA is registered and you lack the capacity to make the decisions yourself (unless you specifically authorise and request their assistance). Lack of capacity is often associated with dementia and old age but can occur at any time due to illness, disability, or an accident. Drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney offers peace of mind and alleviates the stress and worry your family will face if you do become physically and mentally unable to control your own affairs, a situation nobody foresees.

Research by Solicitors for the Elderly, an organisation of specialist solicitors supporting older and vulnerable people shows that 65% of us think our next-of-kin will 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 LPA is in place. Whilst there has been a rise in the number of enquiries made about LPAs during the covid-19 pandemic, only 22% of people in the UK actually have one.

Maria Lonergan, Partner & Head of Wills, Trusts, Tax & Probate at KBL Solicitors LLP said “Lasting Powers of Attorney are not just for the elderly or infirm. For any of us concerned that our assets are managed the way we would choose in as streamlined a manner as possible at a time that will in any case be difficult for those we love and trust most, an LPA is essential. If those you love and trust the most are called upon to take over the management of your property, finances and / or decisions regarding your health and welfare, it would be the very least you could do to ensure that they take on such tasks with as little difficulty as possible via a well prepared, registered LPA”.