“It’s about the money” – spotting the signs of elder abuse

20 July 2015
Using money as a weapon to control older people is a common yet under recognised way older people suffer serious abuse.

Maurice Blackburn Will disputes principal Andrew Simpson says older people can be left financially destitute by the illegal and unethical actions of those who have control of their finances.

“We can see the scars from physical forms of abuse, yet robbing an older person of their financial security is equally cruel. “As people live longer, children are waiting longer to inherit their parents’ money and assets. Sometimes, they get impatient,” said Mr Simpson, who is also author of the book, You can’t take it with you, a Plain English Guide to estate planning.

“There are many signs that an older person is being financially manipulated or denied assets or an income to live comfortably.

“What we often see is someone in a nursing home whose bank account is raided by a family member who thinks they can use it as their own. That is just wrong, but it may only come to light when the person has died or when other family members try to buy things for their mum or dad and discover that there is nothing left.

“People must not misuse their power of attorney to transfer money or other assets from elderly people – including property – for their own benefit.

“A lot of this activity is hidden, kept secret within families, unless someone else – perhaps a sibling or another family member – suspects that something is going wrong,” said Mr Simpson.