Skip to main content
Department of Justice
Image of people
Public Trustee
Print page
  • Small Text
  • Medium Text
  • Large Text

Financial Elder Abuse Prevention

The World Health Organisation defines elder abuse as ‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person’.

Financial elder abuse can be very deliberate, but it can also happen through well-intentioned actions that have unanticipated consequences.

If you are not sure whether you have total trust in someone, you shouldn’t allow them to control your financial affairs.

Can elder abuse be prevented?

Prevention and early intervention can make a real difference in safeguarding your assets. You might consider:

  • making sure you have an up to date Will
  • making an Enduring Power of Attorney
  • getting independent advice
  • calculating your future age care wants, needs and expenses before gifting or loaning assets or money
  • making loans legally binding
  • formally documenting living arrangements and any contribution to properties (e.g. purchases, renovations, extensions & granny flats).

You can also make documents that will help you with in making lifestyle decisions if you should need assistance, such as:

  • an Enduring Power of Guardianship
  • an Advance Health Directive

Enduring Powers of Attorney

If there is someone you trust, the best protection is to make an Enduring Power of Attorney. If you are unable to give this responsibility to a family member or friend, there are organisations who can accept an appointment as an Attorney. The Public Trustee is able to accept appointments like these in limited circumstances.

Under an Enduring Power of Attorney, your Attorney can act on your behalf, even when you cannot make decisions yourself.

Your Attorney can:

  • assist with your day-to-day finances
  • manage your bills
  • manage your property
  • arrange for your tax returns to be completed

If you have an appointment with the Public Trustee to make a Will, we may also be able to assist you with drawing up an Enduring Power of Attorney.

What if it’s already begun?

Financial elder abuse is often difficult to identify, hard to prove and can be difficult to rectify once it is discovered.

If someone is unable to manage their own finances and you believe that person is at risk of being taken advantage of, contact the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) or apply to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) to have an administrator appointed for that person. If you think that an Enduring Power of Attorney is being abused, you can also apply to SAT to have the matter investigated. Most importantly, if you suspect someone is the victim of financial elder abuse, report it as soon as you can.

If you are experiencing elder abuse or would like more information, contact Advocare’s Elder Abuse Helpline on1300 724 679 or visit http://www.advocare.org.au/help-with-elder-abuse/.

Last updated: 26-Feb-2018

[ back to top ]

Home | Feedback |  Copyright & Disclaimer | Privacy Statement |  HR Kiosk
Department of Justice |  About the Department |  Births, Deaths and Marriages | Court and Tribunal Services | Public Advocate
All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved.