Australian lawyers warn of rise in greedy relatives 78



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Lawyers and health workers are warning older Australians of an alarming increase in financial abuse, unveiling a sad secret of our ageing population.

According to Kristy Mackie, from KRM Legal and chairwoman of the Queensland Law Society Elder Law Committee, the problem is only about to become worse as more and more of the population turns 60, and the lack of legislative ­reform and better protection for victims.

The latest Elder Abuse Prevention Unit report revealed a 20 per cent rise in elderly financial abuse cases in one year in Queensland alone, and a doubling of cases over the past decade, reports The Australian.

Shocking, more than $56 million was misappropriated from 139 elderly people through abuse of powers of attorney in the last year alone.

So who is doing this to their families? Sadly, the perpetrators were mostly children of someone in their 70s and 80s, though more cases were involving grandchildren and even non-related carers.

“Domestic violence against the elderly is generally not physical, but financial and psychological,” Ms Mackie said.

“This is going to become an enormous issue. It is already a big contributor to elderly homelessness and poverty.

“The victim is often depending on the perpetrator for care and placed in a position where they have to chose between protecting themselves from further abuse or destroying a family relationship”.

It seems some people view the money of a loved one to be their own, with the most common forms of abuse involving the misuse of power of attorney and homes being transferred to family members and adult children

“We certainly seem to be in an age of entitlement where people say ‘Mum would have wanted me to have’ this even though she is ­sitting in a nursing home with ­dementia,” Ms Mackie said.

“In these situations, the carers often don’t just take the carer’s pension, they refuse to give the parent access to any funds and they think they deserve for their mother to pay for a car or a holiday because they are stressed from looking after them”.

While it is an issue addressed in government, not enough is being done to protect baby boomers and the growing ageing population.

“In most cases, once the money’s gone it’s gone, there isn’t a lot you can do”.


Tell us, do you know someone who has been financially abused? What happened?

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  1. That does not surprise me at all, we only seem to be of value ( not all people ) for what we have, rather than for who we are

  2. The abuse of the elderly is on rise, not good news for any of us as we are aging, it is a lack of respect and can affect any one of us

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  3. This must surely be the lowest of the lowest of crimes – bar physical violence. And the laws are loose?

  4. What a sad way of life for these abused people. I am not surprised at all because of the way that the younger generations want something and they have to have it…NOW. We gave our children everything and obviously SOME of those people still think it is their god damn right to take what they feel is theirs even if their parents are still alive. It’s a sad world.

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  5. Unfortunately see so much of this in the industry I work in and has been going on for a long time very difficult to sit by and watch but not a thing I can do about it because of privacy laws

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    • I used to work in an area paying cash to the elderly and this area began allowing some changes to account and address to be made by a phone call. The personal verification information known to close relatives allowed a few unscrupulous offspring to redirect the parents payments to their own accounts. We often only found out when the old parents nursing home phoned to ask why the money wasn’t in the bank to pay for care. I am sure there were cases we never found out about.

  6. I’ve heard of cases where access to grandchildren is dependent on Grandmother or Grandfather providing cash for something.

  7. My advice to us oldies, spend it on yourself, you have done your bit bringing them up. There are plenty of interesting things to do. Rest homes don’t come cheap and government help isn’t if you get my drift! Also be careful and research any investments you are thinking of making, they can go horribly wrong. Enjoy your remaining time.

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    • I have to agree with you, David. It’s a sad that society is going this way. But yes, you can’t take it with you so just make sure you use it wisely on yourself. If you can afford to go into a nice lifestyle village then do it. We hope to do that. We need to try to be independent for as long as possible. We are fitness fanatics in our 60s. We want to try to stay fit for as long as possible so that we can be independent for as long as possible. Thus avoiding the need to lean on family as we age.

  8. Ihavent been financially abused but suffered elder abuse for the last 2 1/2 years.I was living with my eldest dughter and her 5 children (by 2 partners).I have just moved into my own unit which is a rental property.My daughter had me looking after her children and I suffered verbal abuse by these children .My situation was that I had lost my husband .my business,and my home all inthe one year and thouhgt moving with my daughter was a good idea.She is on welfre and a single mum (now ha a new partner) dont know how that will work.
    Her 4 daughters beleived all the furniture which was mine belonged to their mother until I straitened them out about that,I copped language ,lies nd total lack of respect until I found my new place.

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    • I’m so glad you got out of that awful situation. Enjoy your independence.

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