“I have seen elder abuse up close,” he says, “and I know there are people out there who would move heaven and earth to end the life of a person if it meant they could get their hands on the money. I have seen and heard of some terrible experiences”.
A British Columbia nurse was fined by the College of registered nurses in the amount of $17,500, plus ordered to pay investigation costs of $16,500 for financial abuse of an elderly couple, now deceased.
The nurses misdeeds included being the couple’s power of attorney, putting her name on title to their mobile home, paying for her dentistry, vision care and $1600 a month medications, all on top of her monthly salary.
The nurses college rather understatedly reported that she “failed to maintain appropriate boundaries in her seeking of substantial financial benefits from an informed client.”
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 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.
The Illinois legislature was concerned about elderly individuals being taken advantage of or pressured into leaving bequests of money or property to non-relative caregivers. This led to a new provision in the Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/4-a, Presumptively Void Transfers. This law, which only applies to transferable instruments executed after January 1, 2015, makes bequests to non-relative caregivers over $20,000 presumptively void.