Of course, taking steps to limit or prevent financial abuse happening in the first place is the easiest and best course of action.
It may be as simple as drafting a Will or putting other measures in place to safeguard your assets. Our Wills and Probate team are experts in dealing with these situations and handle them with the care and sensitivity they require. Call 0843 2897610 to speak to one of our team.
If you suspect that you may be the victim of financial abuse in the future, or want to take steps to ensure that future decisions about your finances can be made when you may not necessarily have capacity, you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney. We can discuss all the options with you.
Preventing Further Abuse by Attorneys
What if you already have a Power of Attorney in place and you suspect that your Attorney may be taking advantage of their powers? In these circumstances you should consider a Deed of Revocation which removes the powers of the Attorney to manage your finances on your behalf. You should consider making a new Power of Attorney appointing a different attorney.
Sarah Young, Head of the Contentious Probate team is an expert in dealing with these situations and can offer you advice tailored to your needs. Call us on 0843 2897610 or fill in our online contact form to arrange an initial consultation.
Preventing Abuse When a Victim Does Not Have Capacity
If concerns are raised about someone’s ability to deal with their own financial affairs and it is decided that they do not have mental capacity, then a Power of Attorney cannot be taken out. The option here is to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
You should also report your concerns and suspicions to the local authority Adult Social Services department who can investigate matters and take any appropriate action.
The Wills and Probate team are experts in dealing with these situations and handle them with the care and sensitivity they require. Call 0843 2897610 to speak to one of our team.
Preventing Further Abuse by an Attorney When the Victim Does Not Have Capacity
If you suspect abuse by an Attorney but the victim does not have capacity, you are not able to revoke the Power of Attorney. The option here is to report your suspicions to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) who can investigate the Attorney’s conduct. The powers given to the OPG under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 allow them to direct that a Court of Protection Visitor visits the alleged victim of the abuse to obtain their understanding of the situation. They can also require the Attorney to produce accounts, specified information or documents to demonstrate how they have managed the donors’ finances.
Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, any person taking action which relates to the care and treatment of a person who lacks mental capacity, provided it is in that person’s best interests, is protected from liability. This means that you should not be put off from reporting your suspicions.
If the concerns of the OPG are justified, they can apply to the Court of Protection for the removal of the attorney or the revocation of their powers (provided it has been registered). The OPG will make this application because they have no powers of enforcement; this comes from the Court of Protection.
In addition to applications by the OPG, anyone can apply to the Court of Protection on the basis that they believe an Attorney is not acting in the best interests of the donor, or exceeding their authority.
The Contentious Probate team are experts in dealing with these situations and can offer you advice tailored to your needs. Call us on 0843 289761 or fill in our online contact form to arrange an initial consultation.
Preventing Further Abuse by Someone Other Than an Attorney
The Office of the Public Guardian can only take responsibility for investigating abuse where they have statutory powers to do so under the Mental Health Act 2005. This is where the suspected abuser is a registered Attorney or because they have an Order to do so from the Court of Protection.
If the actions of someone who is not an Attorney are suspected to amount to financial abuse, you should report your concerns to the Local Authority Adult Social Services for investigation under their own internal procedures.
If you suspect fraud or another criminal offence has taken place, you should contact the police.