Does your family member or friend need assistance with managing their Financial Affairs?
Do you help someone else manage theirs?
There are nearly 7,000,000 people, (yes, 7 million people) in the UK caring for friends or relatives, often on a totally unpaid basis.
Of this huge number, nearly 1 million are caring for people with mental health issues, sometimes referred to as ‘lacking capacity’. When someone does lack capacity to manage their own affairs, it may seem obvious to turn to a trusted relative or friend which is why almost half of all carers help with paperwork and financial matters.
An act of genuine kindness is fraught with danger: following research undertaken by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, it has been revealed that due to a lack of proper support by the banks, carers are increasingly using unsafe methods to assist the person for whom they care, for instance, having knowledge of a pin number for a debit card, withdrawing cash and paying for items etc. All (when done in good faith) perfectly innocuous but also open to both misinterpretation and even abuse.
There’s also the obvious risk to the person with mental health problems, or potentially false accusations being made about the carer.
The penalties for financial abuse could include criminal charges plus of course, the stress and stigma of being dragged through the courts and facing a Police investigation.
This is why more and more people are turning to professionals such as Wilson Browne Solicitors. We have a dedicated, specialist team including experts able to assist with, or manage, the financial affairs of people who have a mental incapacity; or are vulnerable either under a Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputyship Order.
We are able to assist with all financial aspects, from managing bank accounts and other investments, settling outstanding household bills or expenses, even something as mundane but useful as organising a new gardener.
The cost may not be as much as you think for retaining the services, or seeking the advice, of a specialist. Above all else, you’ll know that you have someone professional helping to manage the affairs; who knows the law; and who is (for lack of a better term) ‘approved’ and assessed on their ability and suitability by The Office of the Public Guardian.