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    9 November 2020

    The importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney – not just for later life!

    Kate Garraway recently spoke out about the financial difficulties she is facing since her husband, Derek Draper, fell into a Covid-19 related coma.

    Kate Garraway’s financial issues demonstrates the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney and a timely reminder that they are not just for later life! Derek was diagnosed with Covid-19 back in March 2020 and was admitted to hospital. He remains in a critical condition although he is currently testing negative for the virus. He is battling the aftermath of the disease.

    Since Derek was taken ill, Kate has had to juggle looking after their two children and managing the family finances. She has made no secret of the challenges she has faced as she spoke out publicly on Good Morning Britain.

    Kate faced practical difficulties in accessing their financial affairs as these are registered in Derek’s sole name. This includes their bank accounts, insurance policies and their family car. Kate found she was unable to speak to anyone about them as she was not named on the accounts. Kate confirmed that she did not hold a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Derek which would have alleviated the problems she faces.

    This tragic story highlights how important it is to have a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place especially in relation to a person’s property and financial affairs. A Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which is a way of giving someone you trust, the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to or do not want to make your own decisions. If you lose the ability to manage your affairs, a partner or family member cannot automatically deal with things on your behalf, as Kate has found.

    By having a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place, it gives you the reassurance that your attorney/s can make decisions on your behalf. It avoids a loved one having to apply to the Court for the right to manage the person’s financial affairs if they have lost mental capacity or the ability to make decisions for themselves. This can be time consuming and expensive at a time can be distressing. It is far better to get your affairs in order whilst you are still fit and able. Forward planning is key. Despite the perception, a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is not just a document that you put in place later in life, it should be put in place long before you need to rely upon it.

    During the pandemic, many have taken the opportunity to get their personal affairs in order including making a Will or reviewing an existing Will. However, it is also important to consider making a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). Although this may seem a costly and perhaps burdensome exercise, it can avoid complications later down the line. Clearly neither Kate nor Derek anticipated that they would find themselves in this awful situation. Although we do not like to dwell on the “what ifs” and unpleasant situations that may happen, it is really important to consider a Lasting Powers of Attorney in case you are faced with a situation where you or a loved one has lost capacity or is unable to make important life decisions.

    As a firm we are continuing to operate as usual with many of our employees working remotely from home. All our services remain fully accessible. In order to reduce the need for face to face meetings in accordance with the social distancing guidelines, all our teams, including our Private Client team are providing telephone or video conferencing appointments. If you would like to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney our specialist Private Client Team are able to guide you through the process. Please contact our dedicated Wills, Trusts and Probate team by calling 01379 652141 or by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk.

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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