*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

“Dad is being taken advantage of by other family members, they’re taking all of his money.”

Sadly, the above phrase is something which we are hearing more frequently. A study by the New South Wales Trustee & Guardian recently found that as many as 185,000 older Australians suffer neglect or abuse each year at the hands of family or friends.

Whilst there are many forms of elder abuse, including emotional, physical, sexual, neglect, and financial, we are often approached by concerned family or friends in relation to financial abuse or exploitation.

Increasingly, older Australians are being subjected to financial elder abuse which will generally involve a person obtaining some financial benefit from the older person through intimidation, deceit, coercion, emotional manipulation, physical or psychological abuse or undue influence of that older person.

Unfortunately, a lot of older Australians don’t have a Power of Attorney document in place, which is a document which appoints one or more persons who they trust to assist them with their financial affairs. Without such a document, the older person may be forced to rely on other persons who then seek to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, we do also see instances of financial elder abuse from someone who has been appointed as an attorney, which highlights the importance of appointing the right person or persons to be your attorney.

In a situation where an older Australian (who is unable to manage their own financial affairs, or is being exploited) needs assistance with managing their affairs, an application should be made to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s Guardianship Division for the appointment of a financial manager for the person suffering abuse or exploitation.

An application for financial management made to the Tribunal will be considered by a panel of three independent Tribunal members, who will focus on what is in the best interests of the person whom the application is being made about.

If such an application is successful, an order appointing you as the person’s financial manager will be made, which will allow the applicant to protect the financial interests of the person whom the application was made about.

If you have any concerns about a family member or friend suffering from elder abuse, or require assistance making an application for financial management, Turner Freeman’s expert elder abuse lawyers can be contacted on 13 43 63.