Heather Bateman's story reported earlier this year on the BBC One Show told of how she and her family's lives were turned upside down when her husband Michael was walking down a country road and was struck by a car which then left him in a coma for three years, until his eventual death. Getting seriously injured in a car accident is harrowing enough, but the ordeal that Heather went through following her husband’s accident was traumatic for her and her family.
Heather has previously stated that she and her husband had both written Wills and both of their names were on the deeds to the two properties they had both owned. They also had separate bank accounts but the majority of their bills were paid from Michael's account. "We'd written our Wills and we assumed that's all we needed for the rest of our lives" - Heather Bateman.
When Michael was moved to the ICU at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, she was advised by the Citizen's Advice Bureau to obtain the right forms to fill out from a solicitor. When she finally met with the solicitors they asked her fill in some forms which to her dismay required her husband's signature, but as he was incapable of doing so due to his coma, Heather was then referred to the Court of Protection. "I couldn't even write a cheque for more than £500. Our daughter was just about to start university and her fees were over £1,000. So I was having to have to ask permission to pay for my own daughter's tuition fees" she said in reference to the Court of Protection.
"I cried when Michael died, I cried when I was released from the Court of Protection - I wouldn't want anyone to go through that if they can help it".
"Yet all this could have been avoided - if only I'd known how".
It is a great shame that Heather and her family had to endure this lengthy and costly process as she was unaware of the consequences of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place when they had their Wills written.
Here's what you should know
If you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place, it will be necessary for your family to apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to deal with everyday financial matters. This is a slow and very expensive process, costing thousands of pounds. If you have to use a lawyer it could cost a lot more. If you already have an LPA in place, this will not be necessary.
If you would like to find out more about Lasting Power of Attorney, take a look at one of our previous articles: What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Our trained consultants can discuss your current circumstances and recommend the products that will provide the correct protection for you, your family and your assets. For peace of mind contact the Will Associates today and Get your free information pack or call us on 0800 8477 212 to arrange a free appointment with one of our trained consultants, at a time convenient to you and your family in the comfort of your own home.
See Heather's full story from an interview with the BBC's The One Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNqGw1cvnkI