Posted: Thursday, 28 April 2022 @ 16:21
(Sadly) much of my work involves dealing with people's Estates which from time to time entails this scenario:
An elderly and/or vulnerable person(and they can be married) is targeted by someone who can be a friend, relative, carer or acquaintance with the primary goal of the Predator to establish a significant(or overwhelming) financial stake in the vulnerable person's financial affairs. Typically this can involve the Predator moving into the loved one's home, getting control of that person's financial affairs and then moving onto the primary goal which is obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney and establishing themselves as either Executor and ideally a significant beneficiary of the relevant will of the loved one.
From experience not only does the Predator achieve these often unethical goals(at the expense of more deserving relatives/close friends/organisations) they cannot resist in taking money on top out of the Estate as they allow complacency and greed to kick in.
Effectively the Predator(who more often than not is not very financially successful) has used your loved one's financial estate as a cash cow and actually obtains legal ring fencing with possibly a valid Lasting Power of attorney(with limited independent oversight) and becomes an Executor (and beneficiary) of a Valid Will which gives still gives potential for more financial abuse.
What to do? What do I advise people in this situation?
1 Do Not Under-estimate the Predator. One of the things I advise my clients is to fully understand the level of scheming that the Predator has done. This has been years in the making and the Predator is willing to go through a significant degree of hardship(e.g living as a carer in a property with someone who they do like and respect) to achieve these goals with a strong level of manipulation. I have to spend some of my time educating my clients on how ruthless the Predator is.
2 You Are Too Late. The fact that you are reading this shows you are too late as much of the ground work has been done. The Predator has in all likelihood become Executor of the Will/beneficiary/done the financial abuse. They have successfully obtained control of the loved one's affairs.
3 It Is About Fighting Back. The thrust of my work is about enabling people people to fight back against the Predator, to scrutinise his/her conduct and to effectively conduct a sustainable and successful counter-attack against the Predator.
Some guidance is provided below on achieving these objectives:
a) Obtain Control of Your Emotions. Unless you are frankly abnormal you are bound to be emotional and possibly overwhelmed by them. The first initial(and most significant step) is to get yourself into a state of personal balance and do your best to overcome these emotions as they will undermine your ability to obtain any sense of justice.
b) Get A Calm Overview About What Has Gone On. Get all the known facts. When I deal with these situations I seek to establish a broad helicopter view about what has gone on. It is important to get a rough idea of what has gone on financially as this will help decide if it is worth going to law and the possible legal options.
c) Probe Your Suspicions. There is a balance between a Predator who has successfully manipulated the situation to emerge in control of the loved person's Estate and on the face of it cannot be legally challenged compared to a Predator who has not only done this but illegally cleaned out the loved one's Bank accounts, not distributed the Estate and continues to live in the loved ones' home. What we are looking to find out is how much of a criminal is the Predator and how obvious is their criminality. How crooked is the Predator and how arrogant have they have been about it? This is relevant because the worse the Predator has behaved and the more obvious this is will give you more legal options.
d) Start Challenging the Predator. At this stage I identify a range of legal options(so the client has an idea of the possible ultimate destination) be that removal of executor, challenging the will/inventory and account, Part 64(another method of getting accounts) and start contact with the Predator to see how they react. It is an opportunity to interact with the client to see how comfortable with the process and where we are going. It is also an opportunity to see how the Predator(or their legal advisors) react to pressure and how valid are your suspicions. We are all fallible so if we are to go to law we have to have as strong a legal case as possible and we need to be confident that something untoward has happened.
e) Implement Your Plan or Walk Away. We would love to live in world where a Predator has a "Saul to Paul" conversion but that is for another day and lifetime. From experience nearly all Predators are so arrogant that you will either have to give up or go to Court to obtain redress with the situation you have.