Power of attorney used to steal from stepmother

A 66 year old woman has pleaded guilty to using a power of attorney to steal over £10,100 from her stepmother.

Ann Fawcet and her husband were given power of attorney over the finances of Elva Fawcett. After the death of her husband, Ann Fawcet began a nine month period of theft up until the death of Elva Fawcet. Solicitors dealing with Elva's estate noticed financial irregularities, and when Ann was confronted she paid the money back into the estate. However, her sister-in-law contacted the police and she was charged with four accounts of fraud, to which she pleaded guilty.

Mr Bernard Beckett of the Furness Magistrates' Court said the severity of the offence, and the amount stolen, meant that the matter would have to go to the Crown Court for sentencing on 16th August.

Lenore Rice, a solicitor specialising in Powers of Attorney at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast, commented:

"This is another unfortunate example of a position of trust created to protect a vulnerable person being abused.

"Powers of Attorney are very useful instruments to give peace of mind to vulnerable people who need assistance with their finances or in other areas of their life, but this case highlights the need to choose an attorney carefully. Choosing more than one Attorney is a prudent measure to ensure some form of accountability."

For information or advice about making a Power of Attorney, contact Lenore Rice at Wilson Nesbitt by calling 0800 840 9293. To visit the Enduring Power of Attorney section of our website click here.