Who Can The Vulnerable Trust?

Laura Rumsey, Rogers & Norton

The EDP recently reported a sad and thought provoking story concerning a carer who stole nearly £7000 from the vulnerable family she looked after.

The woman offered to help the victim, who was unable to read or write, when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She offered to set up a direct debit to help pay for the care bill of the mother, but kept the money she withdrew from the elderly woman’s bank account for herself.

The victim found it hard not to blame herself for being so trusting and was upset that she had let her mother down.

Unfortunately vulnerable people are at risk of financial abuse, particularly as families do not formalise the arrangements they have in place. They allow others, sometimes people they do not know that well or those they hope they can trust, to proceed with accessing people’s funds without the legal authority to do so. This can put their vulnerable family member at danger of being taken advantage of and with little scrutiny can be difficult to establish what actions are being taken.

At Rogers & Norton we specialise in helping vulnerable clients on a day to day basis, either by acting as a professional deputy or attorney for them.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which can be put in place to appoint a trusted person, called an Attorney, to deal with matters on your behalf when you may otherwise be unable to do so. The benefit of a having a Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs is that it can be used whilst you still have capacity and therefore you may receive assistance from your attorneys as soon as your Lasting Power of Attorney is registered should you require it.

If the vulnerable person has already lost mental capacity without a power of attorney being in place then we can assist with an application for a deputyship order. This will allow the court appointed deputy, who may either be a family member or professional to assist with the finances of the protected party.

The importance of looking after the financial affairs of vulnerable people is extremely important and is a matter that needs to be carefully considered.  The scrutiny which the Office of the Public Guardian provides in relation to deputyship and attorneys, regardless of whether a professional or lay person acts, provides additional security to everyone involved.

If you or your family have concerns and wish to discuss the issue then you can contact me on lr@rogers-norton.co.uk or 01603 675645.

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