Tags – Attorney Abusing Their Position
When it comes to our personal lives, we rely on attorneys to help us make the best decisions possible.
And, we trust them to give us sound legal advice, and to fight for our rights in court.
However, not all attorneys act in the best interests of their clients.
Unfortunately, some attorneys abuse their power and use their position for financial gain or personal gain.
Sadly, financial abuse of elderly and vulnerable people is becoming more common, and the abuser is often a family member who has been given Power of Attorney.
If you believe that your attorney is abusing their power, there are signs you can look for.
That said, here are 5 warning signs that an attorney’s powers are not being used with good intentions.
1. Not Keeping Finances Separate
It is a Power of Attorney’s duty to only use a donor’s money in a way that will benefit the donor.
And so, they must be able to clearly distinguish what money is their own and what belongs to the donor.
For this reason, attorneys must keep their money in a separate bank account so they can identify what is being used and where.
Consequently, if the donor’s money is mixed with the attorney’s money in a single bank account, there could be instances where the attorney uses the donor’s money for their own benefit.
2. Being Secretive
Alarm bells should ring if an attorney randomly changes any bank account details so that only they have access to it, especially when other attorneys previously had access.
Moreover, if an attorney is unable to explain withdrawals or payments, or refuses to give information about where the donor’s money was spent – again, this is very suspicious.
3. The Attorney Has Financial Difficulties
Vulnerable people are an easy target for people who need some extra cash, especially if they’re facing any financial difficulties.
In other words, people who have been given the position of Power of Attorney may feel tempted to use the donor’s money to clear up their own finances.
And this is a clear breach of an attorney’s duty; it’s worth noting here that anyone who has been declared bankrupt is not eligible to act as a Power of Attorney for property and finance.
4. Loan or Credit Applications
If loan or credit card applications are taken out in the donor’s name, it raises some concerns that the attorney is applying for these for their own personal gain.
And this is especially true if the donor did not take out any loans or credit before they lost mental capacity.
5. Excessive Gifts
Attorneys are allowed to make gifts to people who are connected to the donor, including themselves.
However, these gifts should only be for special occasions, such as birthdays or for Christmas, but the value of these gifts should be in line with what the donor spent when they had capacity.
For instance, if the donor typically gave gifts of around £30, and the attorney is making gifts of £1000, this provides enough evidence of financial abuse.
If you suspect an attorney is abusing their position of power, and that a donor’s affairs are being mismanaged, it’s important to carefully note down facts and dates so that the authorities can investigate this.
And, it’s also advisable to act as soon as you become suspicious as any delay could prolong the abuse the donor is being subjected to.
Want to know more? Please contact us today.
In the meantime, take a look at our Court of Protection Solicitors.
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