Lasting Powers of Attorney thrown into spotlight by Kate Garraway

POWER: Associate Solicitor Nicola Hall of Ellis Jones Solicitors has praised TV presenter Kate Garraway

Regional law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors has warned that the ‘heart-breaking’ plight of TV presenter Kate Garraway has hammered home the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).

Kate has spoken on Good Morning Britain of her difficulties in managing her husband Derek’s affairs without an LPA in his year-long battle against Covid. She also highlighted their struggle in a recent hard-hitting TV documentary.

Associate Solicitor Nicola Hall said it exploded the myth that a person’s next of kin will automatically be able to take medical and care decisions for them if they are unable to do so.

Nicola, who specialises in Wills, Trusts and Probate, said: “Many people will have seen Kate’s heart-breaking story.

“It highlighted the difficulties she faced by not having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to manage her husband Derek’s affairs.

“She was unable to access funds to manage his care or refinance her mortgage and she didn’t even have the legal right to access his medical notes due to data protection restrictions because he didn’t have a Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney.”

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which one person gives another the right to make decisions on their behalf. There are two types: covering property/financial affairs and health/welfare.

Nicola said: “Research by Solicitors for the Elderly shows that 65 per cent of people think our next of kin will automatically be able to make medical and care decisions for us if we are unable to do so.

“However, unless a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare is in place, this will not be the case.

“Whilst there has been a rise in the number of enquiries made about Lasting Powers of Attorney during the pandemic, only 22 per cent of people actually have one.

“Kate Garraway’s situation has shown that the need for Lasting Powers of Attorney can arise at any age and, to avoid a difficult situation like this, it is important to ensure that the correct documentation is in place.”

Nicola added: “According to Which? 22,000 Lasting Powers of Attorney are rejected every year, so it is essential that the documentation is correct.

“Crucial, complex and difficult decisions can be involved so it is important to get the right advice.”

Kate Garraway is a presenter on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. She documented her husband’s battle in a programme called Finding Derek.

Nicola is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a full member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Ellis Jones is a full-service law firm with more than 140 staff and 17 Partners. It has offices in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne as well as London.