A LAW firm in Warwickshire has seen a rise in enquires about lasting power of attorney (LPA) following a harrowing tv documentary highlighting the plight of Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway and her husband.
The ITV documentary, Finding Derek, focused on the struggles faced by the presenter whose husband Derek Draper, a former political lobbyist, has been in hospital for 12 months after contracting Covid-19 last March.
Donna Bothamley, heads of wills & probate at Leamington solicitors Blythe Liggins, said Kate Garraway had spoken openly about the financial issues she had faced being unable to access accounts in her husband’s name without an LPA.
Her heart-breaking story of her husband’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.
“People tend to associate LPAs with the elderly and those losing their mental capacity to make decisions but this case highlights the importance of having an LPA in place no matter what age.
“Research shows that 65 per cent of us think that our next-of-kin will make medical and care decisions for us if we are no longer able. In reality, this isn’t the case unless a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is in place. Whilst during the pandemic there’s been a rise in the number of enquiries made about LPAs, and especially since the documentary was aired, only 22 per cent of people in the UK actually have one.”
Ms Bothamley said according to Which? magazine, more than 22,000 LPAs were rejected every year so it was essential when making such “crucial, complex and difficult decisions” that the legal documents were correct.