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.
Baby boomers are nearing retirement or are already retired, and they should be alarmed at what is happening about elder abuse and granny napping. If this is your situation, you should act now.
Take control. Arrange your estate in accordance with your own wishes. Don’t just scribble your wishes down on a scrap of expensive stationery masquerading as a “Will-Kit”. Don’t rely on verbal statements or emails to your son or daughter as this just won’t work. In fact, it will almost certainly cause more trouble than it’s worth. Family members who may seem to get on well together often change their views when it comes to access to large sums of unearned money. As the old saying goes: “You never truly know anyone until you have shared an inheritance with them”. You must protect yourself from both the interference (and sometimes unscrupulous behaviour) of your family & friends, and the possibility of creating any animosity between them.
The best way of minimising stress & conflict is to visit an experienced solicitor who specialises in modern integrated estate planning. This will allow you to properly organise your assets both for later in your life when you may be afflicted with diminished capacity, and for when you inevitably come to the end of your life. It is important to carefully include the details of how you should be cared for if you become incapacitated. If for example one of your daughters has agreed to care for you during this time you could setup your estate plan to allow her to access just the amount of money necessary for her to pay for legitimate expenses on your behalf out of your funds, without inadvertently diminishing the gifts you wish to leave to other family members in your Will.
If you live in South Australia you should contact Genders and Partners. Our firm was established in 1848 and is now the oldest law firm in South Australia and one of its most respected. We have built an enviable reputation in handling the complexities of modern estate planning and will be able to devise a modern integrated estate plan to help you protect yourself, your assets and your family.
Genders and Partners is located at Suite V1, Level 3, 169 Fullarton Road, Dulwich SA 5065.