Experts have warned that the proposed changes to UK law risk substantially increasing financial abuse of older people. Plans by the Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice to modernize Lasting Powers of Attorney aim to make procedures simpler and easier but both include limited safeguards.
These proposals are unlikely to prevent vulnerable individuals, particularly older people with failing capacity, being coerced into powers of attorney.
Psychological and financial abuse is recorded as the most common form of harm to older people with the perpetrators obtaining assets through marriage, wills, and abuse of lasting powers of attorney. Yet the controlling and coercive treatment and social isolation of victims, makes this abuse very difficult to detect or tackle.
Indeed, a recent House of Lords report described abuse of older people, particularly those with dementia, as “complex, poorly measured, and hidden,” while the UK General Medical Council recommends that health professionals should be familiar with different types of abuse in order to identify patients at risk.
They believe that healthcare professionals have a vital role in protecting vulnerable older people from abuse and they call for urgent guidance along with more training and support in how to detect, record, and report suspected abuse, so appropriate action can be taken.
Domestic abuse does not only occur between older partners, but between older people and their adult children and others close to them too. Health professionals who work with older people are well placed to spot situations in which an older person may be at risk of or experiencing abuse.
Getting an LPA arranged through a solicitor such as ourselves can prevent problems occurring later on, especially if you’re unsure of the process or your affairs are complex.
We can come to you, in the privacy and convenience of your own home, to discuss Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
We can explain why they are important and suggest ways that you can put steps in place to give you peace of mind for the future.
By drafting a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney or setting up Trusts, not only will your wishes be carried out as you would like but you can also protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes. Please contact us on 01724 642 842 or by email on [email protected].