Granny napping is defined as the legal movement of an elderly person from one residential location to another, and could include the removal of an elderly person from a nursing home care facility.
The aim of this may be to remove the elderly person from contact with other people such as family & friends, in order to isolate them and to facilitate financial abuse. The prevalence of granny napping is expected to rise as affluent baby boomers age.
There has been a steady increase of “Elder Abuse”, and a decline in the treatment of vulnerable people in our society. This leaves the assets of the elderly person open to abuse. There have been instances where elderly people have been left to starve as disagreeable, uncaring relatives demand food and money from their elderly relatives.
Houses of elderly relatives have even been sold and the relative has been forced to move out. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to granny napping and elderly abuse not just here in South Australia, but throughout the rest of Australia, too.
One of the inherent problems in Australian society is the lack of effective communication between siblings and between siblings and elderly parents. Bitter relationships have sometimes developed between these individuals. Elderly people who have not yet succumbed to dementia or other debilitating diseases have even gone so far as making out Wills that only name grandchildren as beneficiaries, in an attempt to bypass their problematic & meddling children. However this only tends to add even more fuel to the fire when it comes to resolving inheritance issues and often leads to litigation, which in some cases have involved grandchildren having to give back money to their own parents.
On 26/02/2014 the UK Court of Protection decided the case of JS –v- KB & MP .
The Court itself said: “This cautionary tale illustrates vividly the dangers of informal family arrangements for an elderly relative who lacks mental capacity, made without proper regard for:
i. the financial and emotional vulnerability of the person who lacks capacity; and
ii. the requirements for formal, and legal, authorisation for the family’s actions, specifically in relation to property and financial affairs.”
The case concerned a 90 year-old female suffering from a progressive dementia. She had been cared for by her daughter for over three years. The Court found that “The actual care arrangement is in many ways excellent … [the patient] is receiving devoted care and is reported to be happy. For this, [the daughter] deserve genuine credit.”
However, the Court found that the daughter had used informal and improper means by which the patient’s finances were utilised by the daughter to fund the care arrangements, and this led to the sale of the home in which she had lived for over fifty years effectively ‘over her head’, and the proceeds of sale being placed out of her immediate reach, rendering her financially highly exposed; government benefits and retirement pension payable to the patient had been subsequently been diverted into an account in the daughter’s name. All of this was done without legal authority.
Family relationships can turn into nasty confrontations when it comes to administering a deceased estate and distributing assets. You may think that the way you have decided to distribute your estate in your Will is fair and even-handed, but your wishes may cause more trouble than they are worth when you die.
You should discuss your wishes with the experienced specialist estate planning team in Adelaide at Genders & Partners solicitors, so that you can find and prevent problems before they tear your family apart.
When you consider creating your Adelaide Will you may have good reasons for treating your children differently. If one of your children is in an abusive relationship with their partner, for instance, you probably will not want the abusive partner to get their hands on any of your assets. This can prove to be a difficult situation, and requires special care and attention. Special provision may have to be made to ensure that your assets are protected.
There are situations when one of your children may have lost his or her job due to no fault of their own and you may wish to allocate more of your assets to this person, knowing that it might be difficult for him or her to find employment. These sorts of decisions may seem right to you but they may seem unfair to another hardworking child who feels he or she has missed out on an equal entitlement to your estate.
Several times each week, my phone rings, and someone asks me the question: “How much do you charge to make a simple Will?”
I always answer honestly, and provide as much detail as I am able. I try to ask some questions to inform my understanding of their situation. Some people resist this type of discussion – they think they know what they want, and now are simply shopping on price.
I can’t help those people. They don’t want what I have to offer. They aren’t looking for sensible, practical advice. They aren’t interested in education. They refuse to consider the possibility that they are not asking the right questions. Their minds are closed.
It’s as if they have diagnosed their own illness, and written their own prescription. They don’t want a doctor to ask them questions or form an independent assessment of their needs. They just want the pharmacist to fill the prescription with a minimum of fuss and expense.
Best of luck to them, and to their families. I think they’ll need it.
The term “blended family” refers to a cohabitation relationship in which one or both partners have children from previous relationships. People are often unaware, particularly in cases of unmarried couples and same-sex couples, about what they are legally entitled to when their partners die.
Having children from various relationships just adds to the confusion and often results in unintended consequences —even ex-spouses in some cases making claims against the estate. That is why you need the estate planning assistance of our seasoned estate planning team at the oldest law firm in South Australia.
At Genders & Partners, we will carefully study your family dynamics and help you work out a plan for the distribution of your estate that gives you peace of mind.