Kate Garraway highlights the legal protections we should all have in place in ground-breaking documentary

After ITV’s broadcast of the heart-breaking yet inspiring documentary Finding Derek, Kate Garraway has been highly praised by law firms and professional bodies across the country for bringing Lasting Powers of Attorney into the limelight.

Last year, Kate Garraway also took to Good Morning Britain to highlight the importance of having finances and health and wellbeing decisions in place, should something happen to a loved one. This comes after her husband Derek battles long covid in hospital.

Kate said on the programme: “One of the practical problems – which a lot of people would’ve experienced if they’ve got the absence of someone in their life – like many things the car is entirely in Derek’s name, the insurance is in Derek’s name, a lot of our bank accounts.

“There are a lot of financial goings that I’ve talked to you both about, which is making life very complicated because I can’t get access to things. Because legally I haven’t got power of attorney. And all this other stuff that goes on when you’re dealing with a situation where someone’s been sick for a long time.

Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) has published a useful guide to LPAs: Who will decide for you when you can’t?. Our Private Client Partner Anna-Marie Knipe also explained LPAs in a mini Q&A.

At Birchall Blackburn Law, we highly recommend seeking specialist advice from a Private Client solicitor. 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’s 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.

To avoid this difficult kind of legal situation it’s important to use a specialist lawyer who is experienced in this area of the law, and is trained to support people 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.

Birchall Blackburn Law’s LPA solicitors are proud members of SFE, the membership organisation for specialist solicitors who support older and vulnerable people. If you believe you would benefit from an LPA please get in touch with us at enquiries@birchallblackburn.co.uk