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Warning signs of abuse

Creating an EPA is an important method of safeguarding your future well-being. In the process of agreeing an EPA you may wish to consult trusted family and friends. It is important to be aware of the possibility that someone may try to take advantage of an EPA for their own personal benefit. Here are some warning signs that may alert you to abuse of EPA:

  • You feel pressurised by somebody to make an EPA against your wishes
  • Somebody has asked you to sign a document creating an EPA even though you do not understand it
  • Somebody has forged your signature on an EPA document
  • You feel pressurised by somebody to grant them authority that you do not wish to give them
  • You want to appoint two people as your attorneys but one person is anxious that you appoint them as sole attorney

If you know of someone whose affairs are being managed by an attorney(s), it is helpful to be vigilant for any signs that they are being financially abused. This is particularly important as the person themselves may not have the mental capacity to recognise their abuse. Here are some warning signs that may alert you to the possibility that an EPA is being abused:

  • Somebody has put undue influence (deception, coercion and pressure) on the person to make an EPA against his or her wishes
  • You suspect that the person lacked mental capacity when the EPA was created
  • The attorney(s) is disregarding the expressed preferences of the person
  • You feel that the person’s best interests are not being protected or their needs are being neglected
  • The attorney(s) is giving unauthorised gifts or money to themselves or others using the person’s finances
  • The attorney(s) is acting beyond the authority they have been given in the EPA
  • There is a lack of transparency in how a person’s property and finances are being managed. For example:
    • There is evidence of money or property missing or unaccounted for
    • The attorney(s) is not keeping their personal finances, property and money separate from the person’s


Click here to find out what to do if you suspect abuse. 

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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