Abuse Of The Elderly
There is increasing evidence that frail elderly people fall prey to financial abuse with depressing frequency from a variety of offenders including workmen, carers, professionals or even members of their own family. Many claims arise from the misuse of Powers of Attorney.
Accumulating sufficient evidence to satisfy the criminal or civil courts that fraud has taken place is difficult in cases of this kind – and even if a judgment is obtained this is no guarantee that a financial recovery will be effected.
The law will in theory at any rate come to the aid of the victim in cases of this kind and possible remedies include:-
- Reports to the police for fraud, theft or gaining money by deception.
- Bringing civil proceedings alleging the tort of deceit, breach of equitable duties (good faith or undue influence).
- Referral to Social Services who have statutory duties to protect the vulnerable.
- Where the financial abuse is pursuant to an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney report the position promptly to the Court of Protection.
- Within civil proceedings it is possible to seek to recover misappropriated assets. Such proceedings are expensive, protracted and risky. In an emergency it may be possible to seek an injunction freezing the elderly person’s assets or orders forcing the alleged wrongdoer to produce documentary evidence to explain their dealings.
The issue of protecting the elderly has become more difficult in an age where relatives and friends often have pressurised employment or live at a geographical distance.
Prevention is always better than cure. Lawson Lewis Blakers are well positioned to assist in this regard. We can:
- Prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Supervise the conduct of investments, bank accounts etc
- Attend to discharging living expenses
- Undertake tasks such as filing tax returns etc
- Visit clients at pre-agreed intervals (or as necessary) to ensure that they are kept fully involved and that any additional needs are met
- Organise support for those still living at home or help in recommending or choosing an admission to a nursing home where necessary. We can help organising care at home, the provisions of meals, attendance of medical advisers, household repairs, social excursions and so forth.
- Prepare regular accounts (usually 6 monthly) so that the client will have a clear understanding of their financial position.