Taking steps to protect the elderly from financial abuse
We know that the scammers are out in force and that although cold calling is to be banned, there are numerous other ways to be contacted. Scammers have turned their attention to targeting older people. Many of the crimes they commit involve the selling of bogus or unsuitable investments, or bank account fraud.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society1, the number of people in the UK living with dementia is expected to rise from 850,000 people today, to in excess of 1 million by 2025. The advice from charities caring for the elderly is that everyone should plan for a time when they might not be able to make important decisions about their finances or welfare.
HELPING THE ELDERLY WITH A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY (LPA)
In the last ten years, LPAs have become much more common, helped by TV finance guru Martin Lewis, who although in his 40s, has taken steps to arrange one. He believes everyone should think about using LPAs to safeguard themselves and their families.
Designed to protect you if you lose the ability to make financial or care decisions, making an LPA allows you to choose someone you know and trust, your ‘attorney’, to make important decisions should you be unable to do so.
Your attorney(s) can be a relative or friend, your partner, or a professional adviser. Without an LPA in place, if you were to lose mental capacity, your friends and family wouldn’t have the automatic legal right to step in and take decisions on your behalf. Instead, they would need to apply for Deputyship to the Court of Protection, an expensive and time-consuming process.
A SIMPLE STEP TO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS
With a Property and Financial Affairs LPA your attorney has the power to make decisions about money matters on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This includes financial transactions like running bank accounts, accessing and managing pensions and funds in drawdown, paying bills and selling property. A little forethought could prove hugely beneficial.
1Alzheimer’s Society, Facts for the media, 2018
THE FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY DOES NOT REGULATE LEGAL SERVICES.