Financial abuse occurs when someone takes advantage of someone for their own financial gain. Whilst it can happen to anyone, it is often old or other vulnerable people that suffer the effects of financial abuse.
This can happen via various methods, such as theft, fraud and misuse of their finances without their knowledge.
Financial abuse can take many forms, such as:
- Use of the person’s funds without their knowledge
- Persuading the person to transfer assets (such as their property) to the abuser
- Persuading the person to change their Will or appoint them as their attorney for property and financial affairs
- Attorneys or deputies mismanaging the donor’s funds or using the donor’s funds for their own benefit
- Attorneys or deputies over-charging for undertaking their duties or charging for unnecessary expenses
If financial abuse is suspected, anyone can contact the local authority’s adult social services team so that they may investigate any concerns regarding care or safeguarding.
Concerns about an attorney or deputy can be reported to the Office of the Public Guardian.
If someone is being or has been financially abused and does not have the required mental capacity to make decisions about their financial affairs, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection to rectify the situation.
This may involve:
- an application to remove an attorney or deputy
- challenging gifts made by an attorney or deputy
- challenging the conduct and/or decisions of an attorney or deputy
- findings by the Office of the Public Guardian following an investigation
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