Kate Garraway’s heart-breaking story of her husband Derek Draper’s year-long battle with Covid has been made even more complicated by the lack of legal protection she and Derek had in place.

Most of us assume that when you are married to someone, you automatically have the right to take care of them in times of illness. After all, the wedding service specifially says ‘in sickness and in health’. This is NOT the case.

To have the right to manage someone else’s health and financial issues, you must have a valid Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) set up.

Does Kate Garraway have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

As Kate and her husband did not have a valid LPA set up, she was unable to access funds to manage her husband’s care or refinance her mortgage. She didn’t even have the legal right to see his medical notes, owing to data protection. 

In a statement reported in The Metro, Kate was quite aware of the importance of Lasing Powers of Attorney. She said:

‘We had a whole conversation and Derek said we have to appoint power of attorney in case anything happens.

He said I’d be his. And I’m sure I made some kind of joke, saying, “Well, you’re not being mine.” And we were laughing and having all these sorts of jokes.

So I know we’ve had that conversation. But it isn’t logged anywhere. Or if it is, I can’t find it.

Why being ‘Next of Kin’ is not enough

Research by Solicitors For the Elderly, 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 Lasting Power of Attorney is in place.

Whilst there’s been a rise in the number of enquiries made about Lasting Powers of Attorney during the pandemic, only 22% of people in the UK actually have one. 

To avoid this difficult kind of legal situation it’s important to talk to a specialist lawyer who is experienced in this area of the law, and is trained to support people making these crucial, complex and difficult decisions.

According to Which? 22,000 LPAs are rejected every year so it’s essential that you get your legal documents right.  

Help Completing your LPA

If you wish to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact Harriet Bownes, Solicitor at Cunningtons LLP and member of SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly), the membership organisation for specialist solicitors who support older and vulnerable people.

Call Harriet on 01376 567279, or by emailing harriet.bownes@cunningtons.co.uk

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