How do I protect my loved ones from elder financial abuse?
Monday 15 June 2020 was a day anticipated by many. It was a day marked in the calendars as we move further out of lockdown, with most mainstream non-essential shops reopening, and outdoor attractions, such as zoos, welcoming visitors once more.
However, Monday 15 June also marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
What is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day?
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (or WEAAD) was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. It represents a day in the year where international awareness is raised about the plight of abuse and suffering which affects many of our older generations.
Age UK confirmed that in 2019 the United Kingdom was home to over 5.4 million people over the age of 75. This is only expected to grow as they report that approximately a quarter of children born in 2018 will exceed pensionable age, and reach 100.
It therefore makes sobering thought that elder abuse remains commonplace in our society.
From June 2019 to May 2020, Sussex Police identified reports of 1,427 people becoming victims of financial abuse and fraud in our area, with ages spanning from 75 to 102. In particular, older women living alone are proven to be the most likely targets for this kind of abuse, with the average victim being defrauded of a staggering £10,975.
How can I protect myself and my loved ones from financial abuse?
Sussex Police have released a guide on how to stay safe from fraud and financial abuse, such as not sharing personal financial information to people you do not know or trust, and involving a friend or relative if you have any doubts about enquiries into your personal and financial affairs.
Preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney can be a useful tool in ensuring you have the involvement of people you trust.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which appoints trusted family, friends or professionals to have legal authority to assist you with the management of your financial affairs. They can be put in place as an insurance so that people you know and trust can provide support to you in the future, and can be used so that your attorneys can seamlessly act as a second (or third or fourth) pair of eyes if you suspect any financial wrong doing.
To discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney as a way of preventing financial abuse, please contact Katherine Norgrove in Rix & Kay’s Wills and Estate Planning team based in Brighton & Hove; Uckfield, Sevenoaks, Seaford and Ashford.