Kate’s Story: How LPAs can make all the difference

Written by Abigail Bird - 14.04.21

Kate Garraway’s story has shed light on a struggle affecting countless families as their loved ones suffer from long-term illness and incapacitation. Kate has bravely shared her family’s story over the last 13 months as her husband, Derek Draper, continues to recover from the intense effects of COVID-19.

Kate has also brought awareness to a lesser spoken about aspect of long-term illness – the legal and financial challenges that families may face. Kate opened up in her recent documentary about her inability to take control of Derek’s finances and medical records as she didn’t have power of attorney – leading the family to lean on friends for financial support as Kate was not named on many of the couple’s bank accounts and bills.

Kate recalled in the programme that she and Derek had joked about putting LPAs in place, but never got round to it. Now, after over a year, Kate finally has the controlling interest over Derek’s business, and is able to make decisions about the business while Derek is still unable to.

What are the benefits of having an LPA in place?

While many of us assume that a family member would be able to make medical and financial decisions on our behalf if it was ever needed, in reality, it is extremely difficult to navigate, as Kate has said, when the car, insurance and bank accounts are in one partner’s name – as you cannot access them without the Court’s permission, which can take months to obtain. An LPA would give your attorney access to your finances and medical records straight away, so they can make important decisions as soon as they need to, including paying bills or making business decisions.

According to a recent study, only 22% of adults in the UK have LPAs in place – leaving their family finances and business unprotected in the event they become incapacitated. There are three LPAs that may be useful in a situation like Kate’s – Financial Decisions, Health & Care, and Business LPAs. For each one, you can choose a person who would be able to make decisions in your best interests – so for financial decisions this may be a partner who you share bank accounts and bills with, whereas for a business you might choose another shareholder or someone with business experience.

Kate’s openness about her situation has been a comfort to many, and has gone a long way to lifting the taboo around putting LPAs in place. You can read more about our LPA services on our website here.

If you are looking to put an LPA in place, get in touch with our Legacy team on on 020 3146 6312 or abigail.bird@lauruslaw.co.uk