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GN Law Media: Kate Garraway: Finding Derek - lessons to be learned

ITV’s recently aired documentary, “Kate Garraway: Finding Derek” highlights the struggles the TV presenter faced when her husband, Derek Draper was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in March 2020.

Kate’s story of her husband Derek’s year-long battle with COVID was made more complicated by the lack of legal protection she and Derek had in place. Kate has openly spoken about the financial issues she faced being unable to access accounts in Derek’s name without a power of attorney. Kate was unable to manage her husband’s care or to refinance their mortgage because he was in a coma and she had no legal right to do so. Kate didn’t even have the legal right to see his medical notes, owing to data protection. 

Kate’s story showcases the difficulties we can encounter looking after our loved ones without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). If Kate had had an LPA in place, she would have been able to step into her husband's shoes (in a legal sense). Without one, she couldn't.

Research carried out by the Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) shows us that 65% of people in the UK think that if something happens to them in the future and they can’t make their own decisions about issues such as finances, property, healthcare or personal care, then their family or friends can take over. This is simply not true.

The reality is that if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions, and you don’t have a valid LPA or Enduring Power of Attorney (an older style power of attorney) in place, you or your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a judge to make decisions on your behalf, or to appoint a ‘deputy’ to make your future decisions. While an LPA will cost just £82 to register, applying to court to be appointed as a deputy is likely to set you back close to £1,500 or more in court and legal fees.

Whilst there has been a recent rise in awareness and in the number of enquiries made about LPAs during the pandemic, recent research by the SFE shows that still only 22% of people in the UK actually have one in place. 

To avoid these difficult and often expensive legal situations, it’s important to put an LPA in place as soon as possible. Many people do so by themselves or with the help of a solicitor.

For more information about preparing and registering your Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate department for a free consultation on 0208 492 2290 or email us at sols@gnlaw.co.uk.

Posted on Monday, 10th May 2021