A common and almost entirely unreported form of fraud is family financial abuse, this deplorable act occurs when someone misuses their control over another party’s finance’s. Sadly fraud of this nature is found to occur highest among the elderly and to be instigated by their own family; according to research done by State Trustees Victoria, women over the age of 80 are the group most at risk of financial abuse.
Financial abuse in Australia is running rampant, so much so that the Australian Bureau of Statistics is now including ‘economic abuse’ within its measurements for domestic violence.
When it comes to financial abuse, the main category is ‘Inheritance impatience’ occurring when beneficiaries to an estate want access to the assets within before they are strictly entitled to them. A situation may arise when parents being to age start to rely more and more on their children to handle their financial affairs, the children sometimes start to overstep their authority often rationalizing their actions.
As a scenario, the children to elderly parents may assume they know best and come to a point where they think “I will end up getting this money anyway so maybe mum and dad won’t mind if I access some of it now, surely mum would be happy to see me benefit from their money before their gone, their financial situation is sound but I need money now”
Financial abuse is everywhere, and it often goes unreported or unknown. As an individual it is important to maintain constant vigilance to money matters and to make prudent long term plans in regards to one’s estate, in order to avoid or lessen the possibility of exploitation it would be prudent to employ the help of a financial advisor, steps can be taken and help is always available.