Granny Napping Set to Rise as Baby Boomers Age

Granny Napping Set to Rise as Baby Boomers Age

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.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide : The Disinheritance Debate

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide : The Disinheritance Debate

60 years ago, a baby girl was given up for foster care by her birth mother due to shame about her illegitimate birth.  They did not live together after the first year of the baby’s life, and after the first 7 years shared no relationship at all other than biological.

Now the birth mother has died and left only $100 in her Will to that baby girl (now aged 60). The bulk of the estate was left to two other daughters. The disinherited daughter successfully sued for a third of the estate.

People always say it’s not about the money. But when someone is left out of an estate, they feel hurt, and their emotions take them on a roller-coaster ride.  Money and love get mixed-up.  Heart and head collide.  Grief can very quickly turn to anger, and people can easily relive childhood slights.

Highly charged issues of hurt, shame, pride, greed, love, unfairness, resentment, anger, prejudice and entitlement take over from logical thought.

In my legal practice I have heard hundreds of reasons for excluding family from inheritance.  Older generations were brought up to have different degrees of tolerance for unwed mothers, couples living-together and same-sex relationships.  The rising numbers of step-children provide real challenges to family harmony, and in many cultures it is considered acceptable to leave the bulk of the estate to male children.

Estate Planning: The Revolution Continues

When I was at school, they taught both slide-rules and calculators, because we were the “transitional” generation. I grew up with pints & litres, pounds & kilos, inches & metres, and only some of the new measurements stuck in my brain. So now, when they describe some villain on TV as 180 centimetres tall, I never know if he’s a giant or a midget.

 I can empathise with Grandpa Simpson, when he said: “I used to be with ‘it’. But then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’, and what’s ‘it’ seems weird & scary to me.”

 The Baby Boomers generation (born 1944 – 1964) has seen amazing social changes: sexual & racial equality; the metric system; GST & superannuation; outsourcing; computers & the digital age; political correctness.

We’ve been led down the path of expecting old traditions to continue in so many ways, but then suddenly we’re expected to adapt to “new realities” partway along the journey.

 So it is with estate planning.

 We cannot afford to assume that the old ways of doing things will still work in this brave new world.

Take codicils for example. Decades ago, when wealthy people made their Wills, these were enormously long & complicated documents, handwritten in neat copperplate calligraphy by a law clerk under the supervision of a solicitor. The entire document (sometimes hundreds of pages in length) would list and describe every individual asset with great precision, and the whole document would be one long sentence, as punctuation like commas was to be avoided at all costs.

With such an awkward and expensive process, it is not surprising that no-one wanted to make more than one Will in their life. Instead, if they needed to make a change, an additional document called a codicil would be created, which would vary the terms of the original Will, and both documents had to be read together, as one would not make sense without the other.

 Now, with modern Will-drafting techniques and computer word-processing, it is cheaper and safer to make a new Will rather than a codicil, so codicils have gone the way of the Dodo.

This is just one of the many ways that old ideas & practices in estate planning have changed.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: One More Hour … Baby Boomers, Pop Songs and Estate Planning

I remember when I was young, the world had just begun, and I was happy.

When I was younger, so much younger than today.

One more hour and my life will be through.

Can you name the classic pop songs in which these timeless lyrics were sung?  If so, then you’re probably at least as old as me, and you are a “Baby Boomer” (born between 1945 and 1965).  So what does this have to do with Estate Planning?  Well quite a few things, really.

If we’re old enough to remember when these songs first made an impact on popular culture, then we’re at an age when we need to confront some harsh realities about our continued existence.  We’re at an age when we have started to recognise that life flashes past at a furious rate – Life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans and before you know it, you’re retired and contemplating your family’s future without you.  (Cue emotional song to tug at heartstrings…ie Cats in the Cradle.

We’re getting older.  Maybe our best health is behind us.  If we get sick, or suffer some financial misfortune, our ability to “bounce-back” may not be what it once was.  We need to get serious about planning for our own future, and for the future of our family.  We need to protect our assets, plan for retirement, create a succession plan for our businesses…

It starts to feel like there isn’t enough time to get everything done.  Whatever happened to “slowing down & taking things easy”?  It seems more like the pace of living is quickening.  The ever-increasing cost of healthcare, and the effect of global economic conditions on our superannuation fund returns, are increasing concerns for many of us.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Baby Boomers – Are You Bequeathing Disaster to Your Family

Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1965.  As a segment of Australian society we represent a BIG chunk of our national population, and account for a massive percentage of the nation’s private net-worth.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics people aged 65 years and over made up 13% of Australia’s population at 30 June 2007. This proportion is projected to increase to 25% in 2056 and to 28% in 2101.

As we prepare to transition into retirement & beyond, we are about to witness the greatest transfer of wealth ever in Australia’s history.

However 2010 Australian research commissioned by the Salvation Army from Roy Morgan Research reveals that nearly two thirds of the adult Australian population does not have a Will. The research also shows 40% of Australians aged 25+ have experienced or know someone who has experienced family conflict as a result of a family member not leaving a Will.

Dying without any Will is called intestacy.  When that happens, the government of the State where you die will determine what will happen to your assets.  This can lead to unintended people (or even the government) gaining ownership of your hard-earned assets.

Many Australians have no idea what happens to their assets after they die, and sadly many rely on the misguided notion that a Do it Yourself Will is sufficient to protect their family and assets.