Kate Garraway’s heart-breaking story of her husband 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.
Research by SFE, 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 has 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.
What is a LPA?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney;
Property & Financial Affairs – covering decisions such as buying and selling property, investing money and managing investments, receiving income and paying liabilities; and
Health & Welfare – covering decisions such as medical care you receive, where you live, who visits you, day to day care such as social activities, and what you eat. It also covers decisions in relation to life sustaining treatment.
They are legally binding documents, registered by the Office of the Public Guardian, used to protect your interests by nominating people you trust to act on your behalf, should you become unable to make important decisions about your own welfare or financial decisions.
What if I lose capacity and I don’t have LPAs in place?
Your loved ones would need to begin a lengthy and costly application to the Court of Protection to apply for Deputyship over your finances. The Court of Protection must be satisfied that the appointed Deputy is in the individual’s best interests. When it comes to health and welfare matters it’s often much more difficult for a Deputy to be appointed. That said, there are certain scenarios where the Court of Protection require cases to be brought before them for a decision to be made.
Deputyship also imposes additional duties on the Deputy in terms of filing accounts and supervision from the Court of Protection.
How to avoid an application for Deputyship
To avoid this difficult kind of legal situation it’s important to utilise the expertise of a specialist lawyer to assist in putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney and support those 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.
At Franklins, our expert Private Client team provide clear, practical advice in future planning. For further information Lasting Powers of Attorney, contact the team on 01908 660966 / 01604 828282 or email PrivateClient@franklins-sols.co.uk.
Read more about Kate Garraway’s heart-breaking story here: https://bit.ly/3tRdbpc