It is a sad reality that fraud and theft against the elderly is on the rise. In fact, the charity Action on Elder Abuse estimated that there are around 120,000 cases a year and rising.
As elderly people can be some of society’s most vulnerable, there is a lot of trust placed on those who are meant to help them and have their best interests at heart.
It was said in the ITV documentary, Fraud: Robbing the Elderly, that: “Social services had more than 22,000 reports of financial abuse concerning mostly over 65’s in 2018. A rise on the previous year.”
One thing you can do to try and prevent this kind of fraud taking place, is to put lasting powers of attorney (LPA) in place. There is one for your finances and property and one for your health and welfare. These are separate documents and are two of the most important documents you can have, arguably more so than a Will, as these will affect the care you have during your lifetime.
What is an LPA?
It is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).”
Anyone can make an LPA as long as you are 18 years of age or over, and have mental capacity to do so.
The advantage of having an LPA is that if in the future, you were to lack the capacity to make important decisions about your health care or your property and finances, you have the reassurance that your wishes will be carried out by your chosen, trusted person.
If you do not have an LPA in place and later become mentally incapacitated, your family could face long delays and cost in applying to the Court of Protection to obtain the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.
It is much easier to already have things in place ‘just in case’ you were to find yourself in a position to need them.
If you would like to discuss any of the above or to find out more information, please contact us on 0800 614 722 to speak to one of our specialist legal professionals, or visit our local office.