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Banks in fresh push to block inheritance greed

“The growing problem of elder financial abuse in our community is an uncomfortable truth that every Australian should be aware of.”

The association cited research by YouGov showing that six in 10 Australians are worried about a loved one experiencing financial abuse, with nine in 10 Australians wanting the government to do more to stop the issue.

Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said measures needed included a national online register of power-of-attorney orders.

Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said measures needed included a national online register of power-of-attorney orders.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

A 54-year-old aged-care worker from regional Victoria said her family was ripped apart by inheritance impatience.

Her brother quickly started to take advantage of a partnership in her father’s farm shortly after he was diagnosed with dementia, she said.

“[My brother] was aware, and was taking advantage of the situation … all of a sudden $10,000 was taken out of his bank account,” she said.

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“I would sit with my father as he would cut out the livestock sales listed in the paper by my brother … it was just criminal, and there was nothing we could do.”

“I did go and seek help from my father’s long-term family solicitor. He tried everything he could, but there was nothing he could do.”

The banking association will launch a marketing campaign, Stop Elder Financial Abuse, on Wednesday to raise awareness of the issue and seek support for its regulation push.

Seniors Rights Service chief executive Russell Westacott said an overwhelming majority of the cases it saw were based around elder financial abuse.

“Every year we see 650 presentations of people experiencing elder abuse, which means every day our doors are open we see at least two or three people,” Mr Westacott said.

This abuse is unacceptable; we need to stop it.

Seniors Rights Service Russell Westacott

“Of these, most people report financial abuse and they carry the shame that it has been perpetrated, most often, by a son, daughter or grandchild.

“This abuse is unacceptable; we need to stop it.”

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