The World Health Organization believes one in six people suffer from elder abuse worldwide; as the population and number of people with dementia-related illnesses increase as a corollary the number of those lacking capacity, there is a concern that the number of people being abused will escalate.
Richard Elliott lived with his father Ken in a bungalow in the suburbs of Cardiff; their relationship was not always amicable. Shortly before Ken died he called a solicitor to his hospital bedside to change his will leaving the £212,000 property to his friend of over 30 years Graeme Prance. Ken was being treated for kidney failure and arranged a meeting with Graeme; during the course of this hospital visit, Ken gave Graeme a copy of his new Will, asking him to keep it secret.
On the day Ken died Graeme told Richard ‘ you realise your dad left me the bungalow?’ assuring Richard he wouldn’t be evicted and could keep living there rent-free. Richard began the equivalent of a family provision claim challenging his father’s will; believing that Ken left the bungalow to him in his Will as Richard’s mother left it to Ken to be passed on to Richard.
Graeme was concurrently charged with fraudulently appropriating over £60,000 of Ken’s savings after being appointed by Ken as Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Appointing an attorney gives your attorney the legal authority to manage your financial affairs.
Although Ken gave Graeme £15,000 to buy a Van and pay for an overseas holiday; over £50,000 of unauthorised transactions occurred following Graeme’s appointment. A Power of Attorney must act in the best interests of the donor. Graeme claimed that all the expenditure was authorised by Ken; however, once the Power of Attorney had been granted the pattern of spending changed dramatically.
Under the Will Richard expected to inherit the £60,000, as Graeme had spent the majority of the savings in Ken Elliott’s accounts, Richard would inherit very little.
Graeme was convicted of four counts of fraud and following repayment of the money given a two year suspended sentence, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community work.