With an estimated one in six older Australians experiencing elder abuse in 2021, including financial abuse, it’s important to be aware of your rights – and where to get help if you need it.

Tragically, most perpetrators of elder financial abuse are family members like children or grandchildren, who take advantage of their relatives’ trust in a number of ways such as misappropriating funds under power of attorney; unpaid loans; fraudulent property transfers; and taking out debts in the older person’s name.

According to Mary Lovelock, senior solicitor at NSW Legal Aid’s free Elder Abuse Service (EAS) – which has recovered more than $1.9 million in clients’ funds – one very common form of abuse involves a child promising care in exchange for a large sum of money in a “granny flat” arrangement. She urges older Australians to talk with a lawyer and make sure they know their rights.

“We have had several clients come to us with this issue who are on the verge of homelessness. It can cause significant financial and mental stress for already vulnerable people.

We have helped hundreds of seniors recoup money and defend their rights.

“We are here to support you and everything you say to a solicitor is confidential under client-professional privilege,” she said.

For more information, visit the EAS website; solicitors will also be offering free advice at the 2023 Seniors Festival Expo at Sydney’s International Convention Centre from 2-3 February, and the EAS will run a free webinar at this link on 9 February.