Diane Vincent
Chartered Legal Executive
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Date Published:19 Mar 2019 Last Updated:25 Oct 2021

What should you do if a friend or neighbour appears to be struggling with their finances or you are concerned that someone is unduly influencing them?

Wills, Trusts & Probate

As friends and neighbours we are often nervous of highlighting issues with authority for fear of “poking our noses in” or
interfering. This is particularly true in the case of someone you do not know that well, who lives alone, and seems to have someone new in their life who you are worried is taking advantage of them. These are situations where we can assist and are well used to dealing with such complex cases as we are aware of who we should contact in order to safeguard the vulnerable person, and can endeavour to ascertain whether the fears are valid.

An example of this is when we were contacted due to concerns about an elderly lady living in the community who it was feared was being influenced by a married gentleman who had befriended her and who moved into her property to allegedly act as her full-time carer. This was likely to be a very complex case and the referrer was aware of the lawyer who they contacted having past experience in dealing with similar cases.

By making an urgent application to the Court of Protection we were able to obtain an Interim Court Order which enabled two
partners of this firm to access details of the lady’s bank accounts.

The Police Safeguarding team were also involved in the case and worked closely with us and the Social Worker as the client, whilst suffering from dementia, had placed her property on the market with no real understanding of what was happening due to the undue influence of the befriender.

The Deputies were able to assume control of the client’s accounts following a final Order from the Court and every step was taken to act in her best interests ensuring that she had a reliable and safe care package with only trusted carers going into her property (carers who had passed DBS checks). The firm’s involvement even included caring for the client’s beloved cat!

Following our intervention this lady is now thriving and living a comfortable and enjoyable life with the every day running of her property and financial affairs being dealt with in her best interests in accordance with the five principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

If you know someone who you are concerned about who does not have family or trusted friends, then contact us to arrange a no-obligation meeting with one of our experts in order to provide them with help, reassurance and guidance as we pride ourselves in being able to provide a wide level of expertise in a kind, compassionate and unthreatening manner. Call us on 01202 525333 or email us at wills@ellisjones.co.uk