One of the most important lifetime documents, do you have yours in place?

Good Morning Britain presenter and former I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here contestant, Kate Garraway, has this month spoken out about the financial struggles she and her family have faced whilst her husband has been in hospital battling Covid-19; purely because he did not have a Power of Attorney in place.

Derek Garraway, husband of Kate Garraway, was admitted to hospital on the 30th March this year with the disease. Kate has now described her battle trying to manage every day matters in her husband’s absence.

She explained, “like many things the car is entirely in Derek’s name, the insurance is in Derek’s name, so are a lot of our bank accounts, which is making life very complicated because I can’t get access to things because legally, I haven’t got Power of Attorney”.

Kate, like many others without a Power of Attorney in place, has described her difficulty in managing everyday household affairs on top of “dealing with a situation where someone’s sick”.

Without having a Power of Attorney in place your spouse, partner, children, next of kin or family members will not be able legally to make decisions for you, manage your finances, pay your bills, decide about your medical treatment and care, buy your groceries or make arrangements for you if you find yourself unable to manage your affairs yourself.  The only way to ensure that your family or the people you trust can help you if you are unable to make decisions yourself is to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

There are two different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, there is one for Property and Financial Affairs and there is one for Health and Welfare.  The documents enable you to choose and legally name who you would like to help you or make decisions for you if you are unable to yourself due to illness, a loss of mental capacity or if you no longer wish to deal with your affairs for any reason.

Why should I have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, even if you are married, in a civil partnership, have a partner or children if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself the people you trust will not be allowed to access your finances for you or make decisions about your health and care.

By putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you can guarantee the people you trust will make decisions for you as opposed to the local authority or medical practitioners who do not know you personally.  You can also ensure your loved ones are not left in a difficult emotional or financial position by having decisions taken out of their hands.

How do I put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?

Barrett and Co always advise you seek professional legal advice before putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to ensure you are protected, you are appointing the correct people and the relevant issues are covered to deal with your personal circumstances.  Barrett and Co can guide you throughout the whole process making the application straight forward and seamless for you, please telephone 0118 958 9711 to find out more.

Data shows that applications for Lasting Powers of Attorney rose 5% in the first quarter of this year from the same time last year and the Ministry of Justice has reported 239,647 powers of attorney were received in January to March 2020.

Despite the extremely sad circumstances, it is refreshing to see a celebrity and household name like Kate Garraway championing the conversation about Lasting Powers of Attorney.  It highlights the importance of putting measures in place before an emergency situation arises to avoid families being left in potentially a very vulnerable position during a time which is already likely to be emotionally challenging.

You regularly hear about Wills and Inheritance Tax in the media, but Lasting Powers of Attorney are not so readily discussed despite being one of the most important decisions you may make during your lifetime.

Barrett and Co are determined to support and protect clients by advising on the paramount important of putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.  We are here to support you and your family, offering tailored advice and guidance throughout the whole process.  If you would like to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney for yourself, for a family member or loved one, please do not hesitate to telephone 0118 958 9711 or email [email protected] and someone from the team will be in touch to assist you.

Juliette Spanner, ACILEx in the Private Client Department at Barrett and Co.

Further Reading:

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Get in Touch

Juliette Spanner is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and works in the Private Client department at Barrett & Co.

If you would like to get in touch with Juliette or have a question for her regarding her area of work, please email her at [email protected] or call her on 0118 958 9711.

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (SRA Number 549694).

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