Financial abuse is when someone takes financial advantage of a person who may be vulnerable or who’s lost capacity to manage their affairs. It can include stealing money or property, committing fraud or pressuring someone to gain control and use of their finances without them knowing.

Our solicitors can investigate your financial abuse situation and help you claim against the person responsible. We can also help if you’re accused of financial abuse.

It can be devastating to find out that someone has taken advantage of you, particularly if it’s someone you love and trusted. When these situations happen, our team can be by your side to help resolve the issue and if possible, undo any transactions to recover money or property you’ve lost.

Contact our solicitors on 0345 604 4895 or send us an online enquiry and we’ll call you back to talk about your situation.

What Does Financial Abuse Involve?

Financial abuse can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it often happens to people in a vulnerable position such as those who don’t have the mental capacity to manage their own finance.

It can involve:

  • Undue influence – forcing or coercing a person to change their Will or to create a new one that goes against their wishes
  • Persuading a person to make a Lasting Power of Attorney to take control of their money or property
  • Persuading someone to transfer the ownership of their property (or a share of their property) or using fraudulent ways (like forging someone’s signature) to get control of someone’s property
  • Attorneys, deputies or trustees charging unnecessary expenses
  • Attorneys or deputies using the money of the person their responsible for as if it was their own
  • Trustees taking money or assets from a trust for their own benefit, without permission and in breach of their responsibilities
  • Taking money from a vulnerable person without them knowing.

Who Do Your Financial Abuse Lawyers Help?

We can help anyone who has suffered because of financial abuse or who is accused of committing financial abuse. We can help:

  • People who are concerned that a relative is being financially abused
  • People who don’t have the mental capacity to manage their property and affairs so other people do it for them
  • Elderly and vulnerable people who are concerned they are being financially abused
  • Beneficiaries who have concerns about the behaviour of a trustee
  • Anyone accused of financially abusing someone else.

It’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible if you think someone is taking advantage of your or a loved ones’ finances. You should also get advice if someone has made allegations against you for financially abusing someone.

Contact our team on 0345 604 4895 for a confidential discussion about your situation.

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

If you or a loved one is financially abused, we can help by:

  • Carrying out a forensic investigation by reviewing bank statements and other relevant documents to find out what’s happened
  • Tracing and recovering assets, including those held overseas
  • Organising a capacity assessment or applying to the Court of Protection for a capacity assessment to find out if someone has the mental capacity to make their own financial decisions
  • Obtaining financial records to see if financial abuse has taken place
  • Advising on the best steps to take to recover money and property
  • Removing the person who has abused their position and making sure someone trustworthy is appointed in their place
  • Putting together a claim and representing you at any court hearings
  • Applying to the court to undo any transactions that have taken place to get any money or property you’ve lost legally returned to you or a loved one.

If you’re accused of financially abusing someone, we can help by:

  • Reviewing, in detail, the evidence against you
  • Advising you on your options, including making a claim against those who’ve accused you
  • Representing you in any investigation by the Office of Public Guardian to help dismiss the accusations if we can
  • Defending you if you have to go to court
  • Making it possible to keep your position if you’re an Attorney or Deputy for someone.

We can also help you or any vulnerable loved ones avoid financial abuse in future by acting as a professional attorney, trustee or deputy. This means you’ll always have the benefit of a solicitor to safeguard your interests and to make important decisions about your property and affairs if and when you need it.

If you are an attorney or deputy, we can also advise and help you in relation to your own duties and responsibilities. As an attorney or deputy, you are personally liable for the actions and decisions you take and therefore it’s very important you get the right advice about what you are allowed to do by yourself and what you need the court’s permission for. You’ll get timely advice so you can rest assured the decisions you make are in the best interests of the person you’re looking after.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Putting someone you trust in a position where they need to manage your or a loved one’s affairs is a big decision. It’s always difficult if that person abuses your trust or doesn’t take their position seriously. Our team are experts in our field and we can give you a supporting hand when dealing with financial abuse.

Most of the claims we make get settled out of court, but if you need us to, we’ll also represent you all the way through to a court trial. You’ll get practical advice at every stage so you’ll know exactly where you stand.

As a full service law firm our team works closely with our Court of Protection solicitors and those who specialise in Tax, Trusts and Estates. If your situation is particularly complex, such as tracing and recovering assets overseas, you’ll have access to a team of experts who can guide you and your family in the right direction. You can rest assured that our solicitors have the experience to handle financial abuse issues efficiently and sensitively.

As a nationwide firm we can help you wherever you’re based. We can also help if you have any assets or money outside the UK. You’ll always be in good hands with our team of solicitors by your side who’ll keep your best interests at heart.

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Financial Abuse - More Information

My legal team has held my hand throughout, they have been incredibly patient and understanding"

Joy Williams, client

Frequently Asked Questions

What Counts As Undue Influence?

Undue influence is when someone is pressured into writing a Will, or making changes to their will that, they wouldn’t make if they weren’t being pressured to.

They might do this because they’re afraid of the person putting pressure on them, or simply because they’ve been worn down gradually until they can’t say no anymore.

Undue influence is different to simple persuasion, such as:

  • Reminding someone of what they owe you as a loved one
  • Asking for something out of financial necessity
  • Saying you’ll be destitute if they don’t help you.

While beneficiaries may disagree on how fair it is to persuade or appeal to someone in this way, it is not illegal. For it to count as undue influence, the court needs to find coercion and no other reasonable explanation for the content of the Will.

The court asks for a high standard of evidence on claims for undue influence, and the burden of proof is on the person bringing the claim to show that it did happen, rather than the person accused showing that it didn’t.

We’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action. Call us today on 0345 604 4895 to discuss your case.

What Is Considered In A Case Of Undue Influence?

For a claim of undue influence to be successful, it must be shown that the person making the Will (known as the “testator”) was coerced into doing so. To do this, the court will consider a number of things, including:

  • The testator’s physical and/or mental strength
  • Their relationship with the person accused of exerting undue influence on the testator
  • How independent they were at the time.

They’ll also consider the disputed terms of the Will, such as:

  • The size and nature of the gift
  • How this Will compares to previous Wills
  • How it compares to wishes the testator had expressed before.

For a successful claim it will be necessary to show not just that a person was in a position to have used undue influence, but that they actually did.

Our expert solicitors will be able to talk you through the details. Call today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

What Is Fraudulent Calumny?

Fraudulent calumny is when someone poisons the testator’s mind against another person with information about that person. They either know that the information is false, or don’t care whether it is or not.

The effects of fraudulent calumny and undue influence can often be similar, for example:

  • Unexpected and often last minute changes to a will which are contrary to what the testator had previously said they wanted
  • A disproportionately large share to one beneficiary (especially if things had been equal before).

The main difference between these two claims is whether or not the testator believes they are acting of their own free will. In the case of fraud, though they are being misled, they think they are doing the right thing. With undue influence, they are being forcefully coerced to act against their better judgement.

The question of fraudulent calumny can sometimes be raised in claims of undue influence as it’s important to understand exactly why the testator made the changes to their Will.

We’ll discuss with you the details of your case and the best grounds for making a claim. Get in touch today on 0345 604 4895.

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