Kate Garraway: Finding Derek – The importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney

Many people will have watched the documentary “Kate Garraway: Finding Derek” which highlighted the struggles TV presenter Kate has faced since her husband, Derek Draper, was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in March 2020

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

Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)  is a membership organisation for specialist solicitors who support older and vulnerable people.  It has carried out research which shows that 65% of us think our next-of-kin will be able to 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 Power of Attorneys (LPAs) during the pandemic, only 22% of people in the UK actually have one.

Putting LPAs in place can be  a straightforward exercise with the help of 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. You need to make sure you get your documents right – according to Which? 22,000 LPAs are rejected every year.  If the person making the LPA has lost mental capacity by the time it’s rejected they will be in the same position as Kate and Derek and face the difficulties and concerns so movingly highlighted in the documentary.

At Stokes Partners we’re proud to have two fully accredited members of SFE, Nicola McIntyre and Hilary Askew.  Both have extensive expertise and experience in helping families plan their affairs to ensure that if health problems arise at least they can be reassured that their loved ones won’t have the added stress of being unable to take the practical steps that they need to.

The information contained in this article provides a general overview of the current position in relation to the subject matter.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in relation to any specific legal problem.