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Financial Abuse, Exploitation and Fraud Against Vulnerable People

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 Court of Protection 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 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.

Testimonials

Straight forward and relevant advice relating to Wills

- Mr & Mrs Walton, Shrewsbury

How easy it was to speak to her and she explained the situation to me in ways that I could understand.

- Mrs S Mizrahi, Hereford

Politeness, clarity of information.

- Mr C Pudge, Worcester

I had requested information and advice from various other solicitors prior to calling Lanyon Bowdler and found that she was the only one to take the time and explain how the Help to Buy ISA worked.

- Mr M Shaw & Miss G Frankfort, Market Drayton

When the lawyer handling my case was not available, his assistant handled the situation very well and kept us informed through to completion.

- Mr P Joyner & Mrs J Joyner, Bromyard

Quotes

He was great, he listened and suggested the best course of action - thank you.

- Mr T Graves, Shrewsbury

Ease of contact, understanding of business context. An excellent and pragmatic approach to a relatively complex business transfer.

- Mr D Coull, Shrewsbury

The understanding of my case, the kindness shown to me and the support given, not only by my solicitor but by his secretary.

- Mrs S Oliver, Shrewsbury

Prompt response, clear advice.

- Dr A Geeson & Dr N Geeson, Hereford

Politeness, clarity of information.

- Mr C Pudge, Worcester

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