This is a guest blog from Mark Underwood, A4G Legacy. Mark provides services when you need it most from writing a Will to Lasting Power of Attorney and Probate.

Protecting loved ones: How Lasting Power of Attorney could have prevented financial exploitation

Joyful adult daughter greeting happy surprised senior mother in garden

It is so terribly sad to hear about elderly people being left exposed to predatory behaviours that results in them losing their wealth, health and isolated from their loved ones. No one should have their final years steeped in stress and anxiety. Yet, in my business I hear all too often of vulnerable people being taken advantage of.

Today I want to share with you the story that emerged in the news last year. It’s about a daughter, whose widowed father met a woman on a package holiday for older people in Cyprus. He became the victim of a possessive, controlling and manipulative relationship that meant he spent the last years of his life separated from his loving family and friends, while losing his mental capacity and the majority of his wealth in the process.

The story begins when…

Vincent met Iris on holiday and upon their return he introduced his new partner to daughter, Carolyn. As an only child of Vincent, Carolyn was very close to her father and had doubts about the new woman in his life – sometimes it is the family who have a sixth sense of what lies ahead.

Nonetheless, two years into the relationship, Vincent bought a house in Norfolk to be near to Iris. This was far from Vincent’s family and friends in Suffolk. It was at this point Vincent’s wider network began to raise suspicions, particularly as Vincent’s mental capacity was deteriorating, showing early signs of dementia.

Having tried to get her father to be assessed for dementia, Carolyn had accompanied him to his first appointment with his GP, yet he did not turn up to the second appointment.

Within two weeks of that appointment, Iris had tried to marry Vincent at a registry office. However, the registrar refused on the grounds he could not answer the most basic questions about his finance – therefore questioning his mental capacity.

Unable to secure a stake in Vincent’s wealth by getting married, Iris turned her attention to obtaining Lasting Power of Attorney for Vincent’s health and finances. Despite not being mentally aware, they were able to overturn the system, which unfortunately is open to abuse of this nature.

Sadly, within days of obtaining the Lasting Power of Attorney, Vincent’s house was up for sale.

To create an even greater divide between father and daughter, Carolyn received a visit from the police; Iris had accused her of harassing and abusing her father, and was no longer allowed to contact him.

Over time, Vincent’s family and friends tried to stay in touch, but it became increasingly difficult and they did not know if he was even alive. Then news came the Iris had passed. It took Carolyn great time and research to track her father down. Eventually she found him in a remote care home.

At this point he was riddled with dementia and could barely speak. He had no possessions that were reminiscent of his past and the carers had no information on his family; they knew nothing of Vincent’s former life.

Reunited at last, father and daughter spent six precious months together before Vincent eventually passed in 2022.

It was later discovered that of his wealth he had only £83,000 left in the bank. Back in 2012, before his move to Norfolk, he had £50,000 in savings and a house worth £250,000. It was unknown where the remainder of his estate had gone.

How could the situation have been prevented?

The takeaway from this story is that had Vincent granted Carolyn Lasting Power of Attorney for finance and health in his younger years, before his mental capacity declined, he wouldn’t have been so vulnerable in the situation.

Throughout the ordeal, Carolyn would have had the authority to ask questions and make decisions about his health and finance. Iris would not have had the opportunity to take out a subsequent LPA, abuse the system and control Vincent to the degree that she did.

I must also add that if Carolyn had raised her concerns with the Court of Protection, they would have investigated the events in which Iris had become Vincent’s attorney. Consequently, any discrepancies would have revoked Iris’s Power of Attorney. Instead, the court could have granted Carolyn deputyship of her father’s health and finance.

Ready to safeguard your family’s future? Contact Mark Underwood at A4G Legacy today to learn how Lasting Power of Attorney can protect your loved ones from financial exploitation and ensure peace of mind for years to come.
Don’t wait until it’s too late – take proactive steps to secure your family’s legacy now.
Email or call 01474 853 856.