“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”.
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.
This is just Age Concern with a fancy name. No legislative, statutory, or legal power to assist complainants. A toothless echo chamber into which good complaints go to die.
Unless you have proof that a crime has been committed, the NZ Police will default to the mantra “it’s a civil matter, take it to Court”. No phone call to the elderly person, no interview or investigation with those who are raising the complaint – nothing.
Filing a complaint against a third-party Caregiving agency:
This process won’t help you, as the agency will default to protecting its state funding and its brand. Push the agency to be accountable and they will Lawyer up.
Filing a complaint to the bank:
Ditto. If the elderly person being financially pillaged is consenting to themselves being financially pillaged (whether they are being covertly duped, coerced, or threatened) , then it’s very unlikely the bank will take any action regarding the concern of a complainant.
So, as it stands, there are currently no meaningful protective factors available to guard the vulnerable elderly from being financially groomed and exploited in New Zealand – none.