The Aussie state where access to essential legal advice just become easier for seniors

Dec 14, 2023
Elder Rights WA have recently released a diary full of free legal information. Source: Getty Images

As with many things in life, when it comes to the legal system, money talks. It’s this unfortunate reality that often leaves those with limited means out of luck if they run into legal difficulties.

Many older Australians, pensioners in particular, are increasingly being faced with legal hardships but lack the means to receive the legal advice that they need. The good news is that in Western Australia, there is a specific legal service that has been set up for older residents of the Wildflower State which offers free legal advice.

Last year, the Legal Aid Western Australia (LAWA) launched Elder Rights WA (ERWA). The Western Australian Government developed the ERWA to provide effective legal assistance to older people experiencing any form of elder abuse, and to safeguard and advocate for the rights of older people in Western Australia.

This year, they have released their first free diary for 2024, which provides over 60 pages of free legal advice. The diaries are available in Legal Aid WA offices, public libraries, and local electorate offices.

Speaking to Perth Now, Legal Aid WA Director of Civil Law Gemma Mitchell was very positive about the diaries.

“It (the diary) includes tips to enhance wellbeing and contact information for a variety of service providers to support people with common concerns at this stage of life which may impact on their legal matters,” she said.

“This is a fantastic resource for older West Australians to stay informed, but we always encourage people to talk to a lawyer if any of the topics raise questions or concerns about their personal situation.”

The ERWA also has several other free services and resources available for all Western Australians over the age of 65 and First Nations and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Western Australians over the age of 55.

Services they provide include:

  • Legal advice and assistance on certain issues facing the elderly
  • Representation in certain guardianship and administration matters in the State Administrative Tribunal
  • Mediation and dispute resolution of suitable matters
  • Information sessions and community legal education
  • Referrals to community and government agencies

The legal advice they provide pertains to issues such as:

  • Elder abuse
  • Planning for the future, including advising about Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Advanced Health Directives and Wills
  • Guardianship and administration when someone has a decision making disability
  • Living arrangements, including granny flats and moving in with family
  • Issues involving grandchildren.

This legal advice can be provided by phone, face-to-face, and through community outreach. The ERWA also offers virtual offices, home visits, and visits to retirement villages and aged care facilities.

For those who need to speak with a lawyer in ERWA, they can either call the Infoline on 1300 650 579 or email [email protected].

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up