Financial abuse of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a serious problem that can have a devastating impact on vulnerable people. It is important to be aware of the signs of financial abuse and to take action if you suspect it is happening.
An LPA is a legal document that allows a person to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf if they become unable to do so. This could be due to illness, injury or age. The person appointed is known as the ‘attorney’ and they are responsible for making decisions about the donor’s finances, property and health and welfare.
Unfortunately, there are cases where attorneys have abused their position of trust and taken advantage of the donor’s vulnerability. This is known as financial abuse and it can take many forms. A family member may be alerted to financial abuse by a Power of Attorney – they might stumble across bank statements in the donor’s home and see several questionable transactions or payments. They may spend money in the wrong way, not keep adequate accounts or use money to benefit themselves.
If you suspect that financial abuse is taking place, it is important to take action. You should contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and make a report. The OPG can investigate the situation and take steps to protect the donor.
It is also important to ensure that the donor has the right safeguards in place to protect them from financial abuse. This could include appointing a professional to act as an attorney or having a ‘lay’ attorney who is closely monitored by the OPG. It is also important to ensure that the donor has access to independent financial advice.
It is essential that we all take steps to protect vulnerable people from financial abuse. If you suspect that someone is being abused, it is important to take action and report it to the OPG. By doing so, you can help to protect vulnerable people and ensure that their wishes are respected.
31 Mei 2022.