The documentary made by Kate Garraway titled “Finding Derek” aired this week and brought to light why having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is crucial to protect yourself should an unexpected crisis occur. Justine Clowes, Partner and Head of Private Client Group, highlights the benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney and how this documentary reiterates it’s importance.
Derek Draper, husband of Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway, sadly contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 and was admitted to hospital, where he still remains today. During the first few weeks of his illness, he had to be put into a medically-induced coma, and Kate found herself unable to access his bank accounts and couldn’t refinance her mortgage. Due to Derek being in a coma, he could not support Kate, nor was he able to give any instructions himself. If Derek had a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, it would have given Kate the legal authority to act on his behalf but unfortunately she was unable to do anything.
Why Make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Often, people assume that Lasting Powers of Attorney are only for the elderly, or for people who have lost capacity, but the fact is that you can lose capacity (even if only temporarily) for any number of reasons and often in circumstances that you would not have foreseen.
In the event that circumstances did arise where you could not make decisions for yourself, a Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to make sure that a trusted person would be appointed to make decisions for you on your behalf, and would be able to access your finances in order to make decisions that you were unable to make at the time.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but you can protect yourself against a situation like Kate and Derek’s, by putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. This gives you and your family peace of mind that dealing with your financial affairs would be one less thing to worry about if an unexpected event were to arise.
Justine Clowes, Partner and Head of Private Client Group at SAS Daniels LLP, is a director and fully accredited member of the national organisation Solicitors For the Elderly (SFE).