Sadly, abuse of the elderly is on the increase and is often carried out by those in positions of trust, such as carers or family members. We can take decisive action to help you resolve this in an effective and sensitive way.
Financial abuse covers a range of activities, from defrauding someone of their money or belongings to theft or unusual patterns of gift-giving.
Undue influence is the term used where an elderly or vulnerable person is pressurised into doing something against their will, for the benefit of the abuser (e.g. signing over assets or changing the terms of their Will).
This area often involves accusations of abuse between family members, and it can be very difficult to know how to deal with when emotions are running high. The abuser’s activities are often covert or not easily detectable and proving that the abuse is taking place can be a difficult exercise.
The emphasis therefore has to be on prevention.
There are various things you can do to help protect your position. It is important to keep all details relating to your financial assets (pin numbers/ cheque books/bank account details) private and secure from those entering your home.
Most importantly, however, you should have a properly drafted power of attorney in place. This will enable someone you trust to step in to deal with your affairs, if and when necessary, as oppose to those who may seek to take advantage of your situation. Your attorney should be someone you are confident will act only in your best interests.
Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for some attorneys to abuse their positions, and you may wish to consider restricting the authority you grant to specific acts (or perhaps appointing a professional attorney), if you are concerned about this. We can take swift and effective action to have attorneys removed if they are found to be abusing their position.
In cases involving on-going abuse, we have various means at our disposal, from co-ordinating with social services, medical professionals, carers and even the police (where there is evidence of criminal activity) to obtaining Court injunctions, if necessary. We also frequently act simply as a conduit between family members where dialogue has broken down.
Ambrose Appelbe is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with registration number 191153.