A support worker who was supposed to protect the interests of two vulnerable men instead plundered their bank accounts – and spent their money on pet insurance, “dance equipment”, takeaway food and her weekly shopping.
In California, certain groups of people, including caregivers, are considered “prohibited transferees” under the California Probate Code. This means that if a caregiver is named as a beneficiary of a Trust or Will, there is a presumption that the Trust or Will was the product of fraud or undue influence.
In addition, if someone does attack or contest the validity of the Trust or Will in court, the caregiver will have the burden of proving that he or she did not use fraud or undue influence to coerce the client into designating him or her as a beneficiary—a difficult standard to meet in most cases.
Furthermore, if the caregiver is unable to prove to the court by clear and convincing evidence that the Trust or Will was not the product of fraud or undue influence, the court may order the caregiver to pay the costs and expenses of the court proceedings, including attorneys’ fees. That means the stakes are high for any caregiver looking to defend their gift under a Trust or Will.
In New Zealand, various Agency & Industry Codes of Conduct expressly forbid private or state-funded Caregivers and / or Community Support Workers from engaging themselves in the personal and financial affairs of their clients.
Trouble is, the Codes aren’t often enforced by the agencies that create them.
Laws, not Codes, is what NZ needs to fortify this gaping familial abuse hole.
A Multidisciplinary Elder Abuse Advisory Panel based in Otago includes police, lawyers, Work and Income, the Southern District Health Board, Age Concern Otago and a residential care facility representative.
Yet, the combined “might” of these agencies to take action against financial grooming and abuse of the elderly counts for nothing – they are toothless.
Lots of “Concern” being showed by Age Concern in this news items – just no meaningful options for help, advocacy, protection, or solution regarding elderly financial grooming and abuse.
It seems the only difference between the experiences of families in New Zealand, and families overseas who have had the misfortune to encounter unethical, poorly trained, and opportunist state-funded third-party Caregivers and Community Support Workers is the respective jurisdictions:
In New Zealand, anyone who has a concern about elderly financial grooming and abuse is encouraged to contact a nominated state-funded agencies for assistance.
However, making a complaint to this agency is a frustrating observational and experiential exercise in talking to people within the agency who offer no more than hand-wringing futility, wrapped in a sanctimonious cloak of best intentions, for no actual complaint outcome.
The simple fact is that the Elder Abuse Response Service has no meaningful response to offer complainants. They have no executive, legislative, or statutory power; no legal advisory or navigation service; and no apparent influence within the public or political domain. One makes their complaint, the complaint is heard, and then…………nothing.
The same seems to go for Grey Power. There isn’t actually any “power” available to help victims or families of victims that have been financially groomed or abused by Caregivers.
This needs to change, because pretending to care about elderly financial grooming and abuse, without the power to so anything about elderly financial grooming and abuse, is both morally and ethically misleading to the public.