Financial abuse by family member

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Action on Elder Abuse 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #4174 Reply

    Kathy

    My dad died 12years ago.Before his death he had managed all their finances and my mum had never even signed a cheque. I live 400 miles away and my sister lives just 3 miles away from my mum and said she would help mum manage her money.This seemed the obvious thing to do and at that time I had no reason not to trust her. We are both to be joint executors when mum dies and will have joint power of attorney if its needed.Just over 2 years ago I discovered by chance that cheques for large amounts were being paid to my sister and her family from my mums account and although my compulsively generous mum said she had given this willingly she clearly had no idea how much she had given and believed numerous cheques for £1k and £2k were for £100 or £200 and she was also withdrawing large amounts of cash with nothing to show for it. The amounts totalled around £50k and represented a third of my mums total income during this period. This included 10k that my sister helped my mum withdraw from an investment that was giving her a small income to top up her state pension and small pension from my dads employer.
    There were 2 other bank accounts that my mum and dad had that were still open at the time of dads death and there should have been at least 25k in these but probably considerably more. I managed to find all the bank statements for most of the relevant period and over a 17 month period just after he died 20k had been moved in to mums account,presumably transferred from the other accounts and my mum remembered that she had given my sister 16k just after dad died but my sister told her she must have dreamt this.Large amounts (9k for a car for my sister on one occassion) then started going out of the account on a regular basis Although my sister agreed she had accepted large amounts she denied the existence of any other accounts even though my mum remembered having one and I have found evidence of the other. All my dads meticulous records,most of the cheque stubs and all records of the other bank accounts are missing. My sister was given third party authority on mums account around the time I discovered what was going on and mums bank advised that I should have third party authority as well to help protect my mum and she agreed to this.
    I have been trying for some time to see the records my sister says she has been keeping of mums finances for the last 12 years but she refuses to speak to me about it or answer my emails or texts. Is there anything I can do if she continues to refuse to let me see them.

  • #3747 Reply

    In a situation where there is suspected financial abuse relating to a bank account, it is suggested that the owner of the account change their details. If necessary, the individual may want to consider revoking anyone with third party authority if they think that the person is abusing their position. Alternatively, an individual may want to consider granting an additional person third party authority.

    A bank/building society may also be able to add extra security on an account, but this may differ according to each bank/building society.

    In regards to obtaining financial documents, if an individual refuses to provide documents that belong to the account holder they may want to, get in touch with the police if the individual thinks their documents have been stolen, speak to a solicitor requesting the document or getting in touch with the Court of Protection.

  • #3751 Reply

    Rob Hancock

    This warrants contacting social services as it looks like financial abuse. In my experience the court of protection is slow. Depending on your mums mental capacity you should get her to draw up a lasting power of attorney making you the POA. There are strict rules about moving money out of her accounts and will prevent further potential abuse e.g changing names on title deeds of property owned etc.

  • #3754 Reply

    Sue Bailey

    I am the youngest of 4 daughters, my father died in 1995. Before he died he told me that he wasn’t leaving us anything as his first duty now was to his wife who would likely live another 30 years. Money was left in a trust with the interest and capital for Mums use. My two eldest sisters are saying that the trust should be closed now as is isn’t making enough money, and that Dad would have wanted us to have the money rather than the taxman. I suggested that the money be put in a savings account as Mum wants to stay in her own home and not a care home. I am now said to be causing a lot of stress for my mother as I will not sign the document to disband the trust ( there are issues with the person who has managed the trust, who wants to retire but will not pass it to someone else to take over, and the solicitor will not answer my questions about a couple of extra things referred to in the document but not disclosed, and is also putting pressure on Mum to get me to sign. The trustee will not talk to me. What should I do ?

  • #3757 Reply

    Bernadette

    The facts:

    I have a sister with two sons, both adults. My sister lives alone and has had a head injury. One son has of late abused her on the phone/ Prior to this he has extracted money out of her. My sister, says she can cope but it is wrong. He has told her a pack of lies so as to gain her sympathy knowing that at this point she will send him money. The lies include he has been made redundant and he has been in a car accident. His insurance won’t cover the costs of damage to his car because he is redundant. I have sent a text to my sister saying what he is doing is wrong but she says he is unhappy and she is his mother.

  • #8669 Reply

    Lorraine

    My mother in law is living with her daughter. The daughter has a hold on her bank cards and parcels are getting delivered every day for the daughter who is on benefits. I’m not sure if the daughter has a Power of Attorney or guardianship. Her son and I have seen one bank account and £4,500 has been spent in different shops. My mother in law is not in a place to shop online and will say yes too anything at the moment. We feel her daughter is abusing her financially. How can we see bank statements, as mail has been forwarded to the daughter? How can we stop power of attorney if in place?

    • #11509 Reply

      Firstly, it is possible to contact the Office of the Public Guardian (0300 456 0300) to check whether a Power of Attorney is in place. The OPG is the regulatory body for all registered Powers of Attorney.

      If a Power of Attorney is in place, you can raise concerns over the attorney’s actions with the OPG. You can also take legal advice on challenging a Power of Attorney, we recommend Solicitors for the Elderly (0844 567 6173).

      If there is no registered Power of Attorney, and you believe this may constitute financial abuse, you could consider making a referral to your mother-in-law’s local adult safeguarding unit. Contact details for adult safeguarding are usually found easily online (e.g. search: Kent Adult Safeguarding), or we can provide these for you if you know the name of your mother-in-law’s local authority.

      If you have evidence to suggest theft or fraud has taken place, it is appropriate to contact the police.

  • #8964 Reply

    Seb

    My parents appear to have been finicially abused by my sister over a period of 15 years. This has come to light recently, after my father died. When my brother and I closed our parents account we reviewed the statements and found discrepancies of large amounts over years and increasing recently. The day after my father died the safe had been emptied of all jewelry and thousands of pounds in cash missing. Because my brother had no idea of its contents it is only our word against our sisters. The safe keys are missing but she will not discuss the situation or attend the solicitors to resolve probate. When my brother and I went to the solicitors it was discovered that our mothers will had been sent to probate 2years ago without our knowledge or permission. We three siblings were all executors in both wills. My brother and I sought help from the bank but they have said that we don’t have any evidence that the money she received was not given voluntarily.

    • #11510 Reply

      You have our sincerest condolences on the loss of your father. It is understandably very distressing to discover financial discrepancies, or possible financial abuse, of a loved one after their death; particularly when this leads to a dispute between family members.

      It would be inappropriate for us to speculate on the individual circumstances, but we can completely understand your concerns relating to the financial discrepancies, disappearance of items, and your sister’s behaviour. It is likely you will need to provide evidence to back up your assertion that your sister has financially abused your father, or committed theft or fraud. You may consider taking legal advice from Solicitors for the Elderly (0844 567 6173), who specialise in areas relating to the over-65s (including Wills, financial abuse, etc.)

      You may find it constructive to gather as much written evidence as possible; including bank statements, formal documentation, any written statements by your father (e.g. a diary entry, or correspondence relating to his financial affairs). We understand this may be difficult where there has been verbal agreements made between victim and alleged perpetrator, which can complicate pursuing a case.

  • #3755 Reply

    Disclaimer: without further information and details, based on what has been posted, this is what we would suggest:
    Reply to Sue Bailey:

    To seek alternative legal advice if you are not being given effective advice from your current solicitor. You may want to consider contacting Solicitors For the Elderly, an independent, national organisation of lawyers who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers. Contact: 0844 567 6173. Website: http://www.sfe.legal/public/welcome

    Not to make a decision without clear and informative legal advice regarding your options on how to proceed.

    You may wish to report a solicitor you state you feel he/she is behaving in an unprofessional manner to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Contact: 0370 606 2555 Website: http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems.page.

  • #3758 Reply

    Bernadette:

    Sadly it is uncommon for older people to be victims of this kind of pressure. Especially, when it comes from their children.

    Unless the individual concerned agrees to accept help and constitutes this behaviour as abuse, it is very difficult for authorities such as the Police and Adult Social Services to intervene. The exception would be where the victim lacks mental capacity. Further information on mental capacity can be found here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/pages/mental-capacity.aspx

    We understand that situations as such can be very distressing to witness. The action that we always suggest is to explain to the individual why you are so concerned, reassure them that they are not alone and they do not have to continue with the current situation they are in. It may also be worth explaining the potential consequences of their actions and potential implications that may arise in the future.

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