• Rachel Harding

Life’s unexpected events : the importance of being prepared

I have always tried to be as sensitive as I possibly can in my writing and, in fact, at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak I felt downright uncomfortable promoting my services for fear of being seen as trying to benefit from the devastating situation that was unfolding, or ‘cashing in’ on people’s fear. (A trusted mentor and friend picked up on my unease and reminded me that I’m providing an incredibly important service and, so, my blogging recommenced!).

However, this last week or so, I’ve been feeling a similar sense of conflict about highlighting somebody’s real-life story to demonstrate the importance of LPAs. A case in the media has highlighted the absolute chaos and turmoil that can ensue when Lasting Power of Attorneys have not been put in place before illness or injury strikes. We all know the case, I do not need to name names, but this much-loved TV personality’s husband was struck down with coronavirus at the beginning of the outbreak here in the UK, and has remained in hospital ever since, mostly in a coma. His loving wife has spoken publicly this month about the fact that her husband does not have registered Lasting Power of Attorney documents in place (naming her and/or others as a trusted person to make decisions on his behalf). As a result, she has faced a financial mess as most of their policies and accounts (including bank accounts) were in their joint names, or in his sole name, preventing her from accessing them or having the authority to speak to anybody about them.

So many people do not realise that their joint bank accounts are likely to be frozen if one person in the relationship loses mental capacity, denying access to even the person who has retained good health. Can you imagine how devastating this must be on top-of the heartbreak that they are already experiencing?

This couple are young and were, before this year, both seemingly in good health but the crucial thing about Lasting Power of Attorney documents is that they must be put in place (registered with the Office of the Public Guardian) whilst the person completing the documents (the ‘donor’) is in good mental health.

I am a particular fan of this couple and, just as I would with anyone going through such an incredibly difficult situation, I hope their story has a happy outcome and that this lady’s husband makes a full recovery.

Please contact me here if I can help you take steps to put Lasting Power of Attorney in place – it really is so important.

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