Ahead of new documentary “Finding Derek” which will air on Tuesday 23 March on ITV1 at 9pm, we consider the additional difficulties of not having an LPA during what can only be described as a harrowing time.

TV personality Kate Garraway’s publicised financial worries, due to her husband currently being in hospital and continuing to suffer from periods of minimal consciousness as a result of the coronavirus, is an ongoing reminder of the importance of Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs).

Kate’s husband Derek was diagnosed with coronavirus back in March 2020 and was rushed to hospital after testing positive for coronavirus. Almost a year later, he remains hospitalised in a minimally conscious state as the UK’s longest COVID-19 sufferer.

This has left Kate alone, to parent their two children and to deal with the household finances and insurance policies. Kate has explained her struggles with managing their finances due to Derek being the named person on the bills and different policies.

Kate has frequently spoke very openly and honestly about her financial worries on Good Morning Britain and in a recent interview with the Sunday Times.

She said:

“One of the practical problems – which a lot of people would’ve experienced if they’ve got the absence of someone in their life – like many thing the car is entirely in Derek’s name, the insurance is in Derek’s name, a lot of our bank accounts…which is making life very complicated because I can’t get access to things.”

She added:

“Because legally I haven’t got power of attorney. And all this other stuff that goes on when you’re dealing with a situation where someone’s been sick for a long time.”

 

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Kate described how she was unable to access any of Derek’s bank or credit cards or their joint savings account; she was also unable to remortgage their house, or get free mobile phone replacements when the family’s broke, without his signature. Additionally in relation to Derek’s medical treatment, Kate is also unable to access his medical notes due to data protection law.

Because the couple didn’t make a lasting power of attorney (LPA), which would allow the management of financial affairs if one became mentally incapacitated, Kate’s only option is to apply to the Court of Protection for deputyship.  This is a much longer, complex and costly process than an LPA application.

Making an LPA

The making of an LPA is a much shorter and less expensive process than applying to the court for deputyship, and allows you to choose the person you would like to act on your behalf.  This means that you can select a person or people you trust to deal with your affairs, rather than have a court decide for you.

There are two types of LPA – one to enable your attorney to manage your finances and property (Property and Financial Affairs LPA) and one that allows them to make decisions about your medical care and personal welfare (Health and Welfare LPA).  If Derek had appointed his wife as his attorney, she would have been able to act on his behalf while he was unable to make financial decisions for himself, for example by accessing his bank account and credit cards and remortgaging the house. With a Health and Welfare LPA, Kate would have had access to Derek’s medical notes and a much greater say in decisions about his care, should there be any dispute.

Act now

For peace of mind and to ensure that you have all the legal protection you need, make an LPA now.  This means that your selected attorney would have the ability to manage your financial and medical affairs at a very difficult time, without the need for court involvement, delay and the costs associated with this.

Our dedicated Wills, Trusts & Probate team have years of expertise in assisting clients to draft LPAs, helping you feel more secure about your future.  We are offering initial consultations via pre arranged appointment at our Cooper House offices, telephone or video call to assist with Lasting Powers of Attorney.  If you would like to call a member of the team to discuss in detail please contact us on 01282 422711.  Alternatively send any question through to the team via email 

For more information contact Clare Rogers or Charlotte Huxley in our Wills, Trusts and Probate department.