Incidences of financial abuse perpetrated against elderly people are on the increase according to investigations carried out by a prominent charity. Age UK, which performs a wide range of research into helping improve the lives of elderly people in the UK, has recently carried out a review of evidence that suggests older people are at greater risk of financial exploitation than previously thought.
Age UK’s findings established that approximately 130,000 people over the age of 65 in Britain have been the victims of financial abuse. While anyone can find themselves subject to such abuse, it is acknowledged that older people are at particular risk given that many are seen to have substantial savings and are considered to be more vulnerable than younger people.
Financial abuse covers many different types of behaviour and can be perpetrated in many different ways. The Care Act 2014, a piece of legislation that places duties and responsibilities on local authorities in relation to the care and support of adults, defines financial abuse as:
Evidence suggests that older people are increasingly being targeted by criminals who are involved in banking and investment fraud. Victims are often persuaded to hand over their bank details or are convinced to invest in fraudulent schemes.
However, the majority of financial abuse is not committed by fraudsters as part of boiler rooms scams. Sadly, Age UK’s research suggests that around 70 per cent of financial abuse is carried out by a victim’s family members. There are also many reported examples of individuals befriending older people for the purpose of financial gain, ‘grooming’ the person in the hope of persuading them to hand over cash or property.
Wilford Smith’s Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers can help you to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to help guard against financial abuse if you are unable to make decisions for yourself in the future. Doing so will mean that someone that you trust can be put in charge of your affairs, such as a loved one or an independent person. Setting up an LPA earlier in life offers you the best protection against financial abuse occurring in the future, offering you security and peace of mind. Wilford Smith’s solicitors have many years of experience in advising clients regarding estates of all types and sizes. We offer straight-forward, practical and easy to understand advice to ensure that you are best placed to plan for the future.