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Why is Lasting Power of Attorney so important?

High profile cases highlight the importance of Lasting Power of Attorney

Often people think about putting in place Lasting Power of Attorney for an elderly relative. However, we recommend each and every one of our clients have these documents in place to ensure financial security and control in the event of incapacity. Although something we talk to clients about all the time, I’m writing this article now having seen two cases in the press in recent weeks.

Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

Derek Draper, the husband of Good Morning Britain present Kate Garraway, has been critically ill and remains in intensive care, having contracted coronavirus back in March. She has opened up that the financial side of her life is becoming an increasing problem. With his name being on many bills, insurance policies and bank accounts, Kate has found it hard to speak with companies, as she’s not the named person.

She confirmed “One of the practical problems – which a lot of people would have 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 lots of financial goings on which are making life very complicated because I can’t get access to things because legally, I haven’t got power of attorney.”

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

The second example confirms the need for the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. Some of you will have seen the recent story in the news when a retired nurse was arrested after she removed her 97 year old mother from a care home. The family took “drastic action”, due to the lack of face to face contact during the pandemic.

The family had power of attorney over the grandmother’s finances, but not for her health and wellbeing. Because of this, the care home were legally responsible for her care, so when her family tried to take her from her home with the intention of caring for her themselves, her daughter was arrested.

Summary

Obviously, neither family could have anticipated that they would find themselves in this dreadful position. Their situation, although highlighted by the extraordinary circumstances we’re currently living in, highlights a common need, the need to have both Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

If you need further information, we’d be delighted to provide guidance on how you might put these documents in place. You can draft them yourselves. However, we’d always recommend seeking the advice of a professional, making sure that these important documents are drafted correctly and do what you need, if and when eventually needed.

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