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At Forbes Solicitors an area of focus which is important to us is the treatment of vulnerable adults. The definition of a vulnerable adult is someone who is over the age of 18 who may be in need of community care services because of mental or physical disability, age or health reasons and maybe unable to look after themselves or unable to protect themselves from harm or exploitation.
It is appropriate that safeguarding measures are in place for the protection of vulnerable adults. The Local Authority is a key organisation which will endeavour to help vulnerable adults and they should always be contacted if it is suspected that a vulnerable adult is being abused in any way whether physically, mentally or financially.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 has allowed some vulnerable adults to be protected. It provides a framework for significant life decisions to be made on behalf of vulnerable adults who lack the requisite mental capacity to make such decisions for themselves. Such decisions may cover their financial affairs or personal welfare matters such as where they live and what sort of community care they require.
In relation to financial matters, signs of abuse may include bills not being paid, unusual activity in bank accounts, pressure on an elderly person to change their Will, or an elderly or vulnerable person not being allowed to check their own bank account. Even though regulated measures can be put in place such as Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications, it is often still possible for the abuse of a vulnerable adult to take place, for example by someone taking hold of a pension book and not allowing that person to have access to their money.
If you believe a vulnerable adult is suffering abuse in any way, you should refer the matter to Social Services and the appropriate person responsible for adult safeguarding should be able to help. Alternatively, if you believe a crime may have been committed, the police should be informed as soon as possible.
Our team of Wills, Probate, Tax and Trust Solicitors deal with elderly and vulnerable clients on a day to day basis. If you have any queries regarding setting up legal measures to protect a vulnerable adult, such as a Lasting Power of Attorney or an application to the Court of Protection, then please contact us on freephone 0800 975 2463 or by email.
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