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The importance of making an LPA when you're well and healthy

Posted on 17 March 2022

Why Kate Garraway's experience with Covid has an important message for us all

Posted in Legal news

It's been well documented, by Kate Garraway herself, the problems that her family have had to deal with. Her husband was one of the first to be very seriously ill with COVID-19.  The problems she experienced during her husband’s battle with COVID-19 show you the importance of making a Lasting Powers of Attorney, now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives since at least March 2020. It has been a reminder to us that we do not know what is around the corner. One area of life that this relates to is our ability to make decisions for ourselves. In a situation such as this, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) for both Property and Financial Affairs, and Health and Welfare are essential. 

The impact of not making LPAs

This issue of losing the ability to make our own decisions could happen to anyone at any time. This situation has hugely affected Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway. Her husband, political lobbyist and adviser Derek Draper, was admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms in March 2020 and was subsequently placed in an induced coma.

Kate was unable to access funds to manage her husband’s care or refinance their mortgage. Equally, she did not have the right to see his medical notes, due to data protection restrictions. However, if Derek had made LPAs for Property and Financial Affairs, and Health and Welfare (and appointed Kate as an attorney) before he became unwell, Kate would have been able to make these decisions regarding his health and finances. 

LPA – Property and Financial Affairs

There is often the assumption that your next-of-kin would be able to organise your finances if you were to lose capacity. This, however, is not the case. If you lose capacity, no-one can access your money on your behalf. That money would be stuck in a vacuum until you obtain a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection. These orders are expensive and take a considerable amount of time to obtain. The LPA for Property and Financial Affairs provides not only peace of mind but also the ability for the people you appoint as your attorneys to make financial decisions for you if you lose capacity (or even if you still have capacity but want your attorneys to manage your finances for you). 

LPA – Health and Welfare

In addition, there is also the belief that your next-of-kin would be able to make medical and care decisions for you if you lose capacity. This is not necessarily true, unless you have a Health and Welfare LPA. If you don’t, these decisions can be left solely to the professionals, like doctors and social workers. But if you have a Health and Welfare LPA, your attorneys will have a lot more weight in terms of their views when decisions are made. This is particularly important if the professionals and attorneys do not see eye-to-eye. 

LPAs are an insurance policy for your future which need to be made when you are healthy, for a time when that may not be the case. LPAs provide the ultimate peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

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