Bewarecare interview: Wairapapa Times Age.


Story reads:

An Auckland family counsellor is calling for more protection for the elderly from the risk of financial abuse by professional caregivers.

Stephen Taylor, family counsellor and director of Relationship Matters Ltd, believes stronger measures are needed to protect vulnerable elderly from being exploited by state-funded and private in-home caregivers.

“One case I became familiar with was a woman who worked as an in-home caregiver, and who had groomed and then financially exploited so many elderly clients, she ended up with a portfolio of 10 properties to her name.”

Mr Taylor believes the elderly, who have often built up significant assets during their lives, are vulnerable to being emotionally manipulated by caregivers because of the nature of the role.

Often, he says, families are powerless to intervene in the situation.

Mr Taylor is inviting anyone who has had this experience to contact him, as he plans to present a petition to the government calling for the creation of stronger measures to protect the elderly.

Some of the obvious areas that need addressing, Mr Taylor says, are:

* Lawyers of clients should be excluded from being beneficiaries of their client’s Will.

* Financial abuse of the elderly should be a “criminal” matter instead of a “civil” matter.

* Criminal sanctions must be available to families and agencies to prosecute caregivers who place their clients in a position of dependency on them.

* No service provider, public or state-funded, that is supplying any service to a client should be involved in the personal and financial affairs of their clients.

* There should be a professional association for private and state funded caregivers (in home or otherwise), a Code of Ethical Conduct, and meaningful training in ethics.

* Money and gifts from clients to their service delivery provider should be off limits.

* The Health & Disability Commissioner needs more firepower, funding, people and resources to speed up decisions on complaints which currently can take more than a year.

* Anyone who is professional caregiver should have an EPOA if they are a recipient of any personal financial benefits from an elderly person, and if they do have an EPOA and/or have been named as a beneficiary of a client’s Will, then they should have to be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they attained the role of a beneficiary legitimately.

Mr Taylor may be contacted at

Please go to for more information on this issue, and to share your story of elder financial abuse.

NZ Lawyer disciplined 10 times over 30 years, and then FINALLY gets struck off for transferring client’s property into his name and then trying to evict them.

Lawyer threatens colleague with dogs - NZ Herald

UK Lawyer jailed for 5 years for writing himself into the Wills of his clients.

Lawyer 'made himself the beneficiary of vulnerable clients' wills in plan  to steal £210,000 from their estates' | Daily Mail Online

In New Zealand, if a Lawyer wants to makes themselves a beneficiary of a clients Will, all the Lawyer has to do is to get another Lawyer to draft up the Will on their behalf, thereby circumnavigating Rule 5.10 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008.

. Rule 5.10 of the RCCC provides as follows:
“A lawyer must not draft or assist in drafting a provision of a will or other instrument under
which the lawyer may take a benefit other than a benefit normally attached to acting in a
professional capacity in respect of the will or instrument unless, before the execution of the
will or instrument, the person concerned has taken independent advice.”

Additionally, Rules 5.8 and 5.8.1 of the RCCC provide as follows:
5.8 A lawyer must not accept a gift from a client if there is a possibility of the gift being or
appearing to be inconsistent with the trust and confidence reposed by the client.
5.8.1 In any case where a lawyer proposes to accept a gift of a significant amount or value,
the lawyer may do so only if the client has taken prior independent advice in respect
of the matter.

Rules 5.8 and 5.8.1 is even easier to circumvent, as all a Lawyer has to do is nominate another party seemingly “unconnected” to the Lawyer to be named as the clients beneficiary of the Will.

Once the client passes on, and the Estate is paid to the “beneficiary”, and the “beneficiary” simply passes the Estate assets to the (now deceased) clients Lawyer.

The New Zealand Law Society does not seem to have anything within its investigative or sanctioning “toolbox” to stop NZ Lawyers engaging in such reprehensible behaviour.