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Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is the mistreatment of someone in relation to their money or assets including their home, their income and their savings.

Anyone of any age can be affected as can people from all backgrounds and financial positions.  Following research carried out by AVIVA published in 2023, as many as two in five of the British adult population may have suffered from financial or economic abuse in their adulthood.

Financial abuse also comes in many forms, from the carer who steals money from the person they are supposed to be looking after, to financial fraudsters who perpetuate both simple and complex frauds in order to access funds dishonestly, to the partner or child who bullies someone in their household or family into giving them funds or assets even if they don’t want to.

Financial Abuse can be both a criminal offence as well as the basis of a civil claim

At Stephens Scown, we are experts in dealing with civil cases involving financial abuse. We regularly deal with:

  • Concerns regarding the improper conduct of Attorneys – including allegations that the Attorney has made inappropriate payments to either themselves or to third parties or used their position to advance their own best interests.
  • Allegations of financial abuse of vulnerable adults – this includes cases where vulnerable adults have had their assets taken out of their control or been forced to live with family members against their will or had care withheld as a method of controlling them.
  • Undue influence cases involving lifetime gifts.
  • Undue influence involving wills.

Protection of Vulnerable Adults

We often work with the Protection of Vulnerable Adults units within Local Authorities and with the Office of the Public Guardian. Our team appear before the Court of Protection in contested cases involving both Attorneys under Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney as well as Deputyships.

Recent cases include:

  • Successful application to remove an attorney who had stolen funds from the donor and report to police for prosecution.
  • Objection to an application to be appointed as a Deputy by an unsuitable third party, sustained by the Court of Protection.
  • Defending two attorneys who had been wrongly accused of improper conduct by a bank.
  • Successfully defending an attorney from an application for removal made in bad faith.
  • Recovering funds for a patient who had been financially abused by a family member.

We have nearly two decades of experience in dealing with this area of the law and our team has considerable experience in acting as a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection.

Our approach is evidence-led, empathetic and clear. We understand the distress these cases can cause and work with our clients to try and find a solution which prioritises the best interests of the victim at all times.

Criminal Financial Abuse

The police are responsible for investigating crimes and if there is enough evidence to support a prosecution, they will pass the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service. We have made multiple referrals to the police for investigation and have worked with them on a number of cases where a prosecution has followed.

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