Court of Protection

Advice on Financial Abuse

Financial abuse of vulnerable people is on the increase in the UK, despite the legal systems which are in place to protect them.

If someone lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, someone will either be managing them informally (such as a friend or carer) or on a formal basis by a court-appointed deputy or attorney.

The specialist lawyers in Lanyon Bowdler’s Court of Protection understand the symptoms of financial abuse and are regularly instructed to assist with the removal of deputies and attorneys. Our solicitors also advise in other circumstances, such as objections to an application to the Court of Protection by someone suspected as being unsuitable to act as an attorney or deputy.

INDICATORS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE

Being familiar with the warning signs makes it much easier to stop any suspected abuse at an early stage. Things to look out for include:

  • Withdrawals of large sums of money from a bank account, or frequent cashpoint withdrawals.
  • Signatures on cheques which don’t resemble the person’s signature, or cheques signed when the person can no longer write.
  • Changes to the person’s will or the creation of a new will, sometimes using a new solicitor previously not known to the person.
  • The sudden inclusion of additional names on bank accounts.
  • Unexplained transfers of property or assets.
  • The sudden interest of previously uninvolved relatives.
  • Lack of basic things that the person should be able to afford, such as clothing and items of personal hygiene.
  • Bills going unpaid when someone is meant to be paying them on the person’s behalf.
  • Deliberate isolation of the person from their family and friends.
  • Disappearance of valuable items from their home.

REMEDIES

Suspicions should first be given to your local police or council’s Vulnerable Adult Unit, depending on the circumstances.

Where the suspect is an attorney under a registered Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, or a court-appointed deputy, options include notifying the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) who can investigate the claims under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, or applying directly to the Court of Protection to remove and replace the deputy or attorney - which is where Lanyon Bowdler would come in.

CONTACT LANYON BOWDLER

Give us a call on 0800 464 0086 or complete our online enquiry form, to see how we can help. We have offices in Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow, Bromyard and Hereford so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands.

For more advice about how we can help, please contact Neil Davies, Head of Court of Protection, or a member of his team on 01743 280280.

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