One option is to establish a Power of Attorney while the person is capable (still has the mental capacity) to make such decisions. Forms can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian. There is a cost involved. Finance and Welfare can be covered by separate application forms.

Power of Attorney is not risk-free though. We would always recommend that appointing more than one attorney is a good way of reducing the risk of abuse. We would also recommend using a professional adviser when drawing up a Power of Attorney agreement such as a solicitor. 

There is an alternative however, which comes with more safeguards. If the individual no longer has the mental capacity, then someone can apply on their behalf to the Court of Protection to be made a Deputy. As with Power of Attorney, the Deputy manages the individual's money for them but there are more stringent checks by the Court, including a need for the Deputy to submit accounts. 

If the person still has capacity but may be vulnerable to financial abuse, it can be good idea to have additional copies of bank statements sent to a third party so they can check that the individual is not being taken advantage of. It is also worth a conversation with the individual's bank or building society to see if they can introduce additional safeguards to their account, such as imposing a maximum withdrawal amount.

As in any case of elder abuse, any suspicions can be raised with the adult safeguarding or adult protection team or the police.

See our useful checklist to help identify the risk factors associated with financial abuse.