Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of an individual’s funds, property or assets. Financial abuse can also take place where an individual takes control of another’s financial affairs, either at the will of the individual or by lasting power of attorney, but uses that control to benefit themselves or others. In the latest post, Broadbents solicitors discuss this issue further.
In many cases, the main perpetrators of financial abuse are family members, predatory individuals that purposefully seek to gain the trust of a vulnerable person with the means to exploit them, or sometimes, unprofessional business persons, or those posing as such for their own gain.
People at Risk
The elderly are most at risk of financial abuse, however, there are certain factors that increase a person’s risk of falling victim to this activity, including:
Being isolated or lonely
Being unfamiliar with financial matters
Physical or mental disability.
Signs of Financial Abuse
If you are concerned that individual is being financially abused, there are various signs that you can look out for:
Have there been any large withdrawals or sudden changes to the frequency of withdrawals from the individual’s bank account?
Are there any additional names on the bank account that seem suspicious?
Does the signature on written cheques match that of the individual?
Has there been a sudden change to the will?
Has there been an unexplained transfer of assets to a previously uninvolved relative or someone outside of the family?
Does the individual seem more isolated from friends and family?
There are various services that can offer helpful guidance and advice regarding financial abuse, but it can be highly beneficial to encourage the individual to speak to family members and see a solicitor. Other services include:
Social Services or Social Work Department and Adult Protection.
Social care inspection bodies.
If you have concerns that an individual may be being financially abused, speak to our specialist probate team today. Call on one of the local numbers above or use our online contact form and we’ll be in contact as soon as possible.