Good Morning Britain presenter, Kate Garraway, shared the story of her husband Derek’s year long battle with Covid-19 in a documentary that aired last night [23rd March 2021].

She spoke about the financial issues she has faced due to the lack of legal protection she and Derek had in place, which has left her unable to access accounts in his name without a Power of Attorney.

Like many couples, some of the assets that Kate used and needed access to were in her husband’s name, so not only was she prohibited from seeing his medical notes due to data protection, but she was also unable to refinance her mortgage or access funds to manage Derek’s care.

If the couple had put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, whilst the situation would still have been difficult emotionally, it would have been much easier to deal with practicalities such as insurance and finances, ultimately taking away significant added stress from an already traumatic situation.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney [LPA] allows a loved one to make decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so yourself. Once it has been executed, the document can be stored until such time as it is needed.

You can sign two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney – each taking a different role. Firstly, one that covers property and financial affairs. This includes the power to manage bank accounts, pay expenses, complete tax returns, deal with investments and buy and sell property.

The second type of Lasting Power of Attorney covers health and welfare decisions. This is for decisions about your personal care, such as where you will live, who will live with you and some medical decisions, including consent to or refusal of life-sustaining treatments.

You can choose different attorneys for each type of Lasting Power of Attorney, and our specialist team of Wills and probate solicitors can help you establish the best options for your circumstances.

Why is it important to have one?

There are many reasons why it is important to appoint an LPA. Firstly, you cannot predict what could happen in the future so, no matter what, you must ensure your affairs are taken care of. This includes any business interests, so your company will suffer minimal disruption if anything happens to you.

Having LPAs in place also allows you to reduce the risk of burdening your loved ones with a costly application to the Court of Protection and having little or no control over your important decisions.

LPAs can allow you to plan for the future with an element of reassurance, and can also reduce family conflict knowing that the individual has expressed their wishes regarding their health and who they nominate to look after their finances. Looking after your future interests is not something you should put off. If you would like any assistance with Powers of Attorney then please call Carol Dalziel on 01494 781362 or email,.