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Friday, December 1, 2023

Webinar to delve into financial abuse and the benefits of creating a formal Family Agreement

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Financial abuse of older Australians is a common cause for concern, with research showing that 60 per cent of Australians are concerned an elder they know is at risk.

There are various scenarios that can contribute to the risk of financial abuse, including – but not limited to – an elder and their adult child co-habiting, co-purchasing of property, building an extension, or gifting to friends and family.

But despite the concern, many are unaware of the protection that can be offered through the creation of a formal Family Agreement, a lesser known legal instrument to be discussed in an upcoming one-hour webinar from Compass, an initiative of Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA).

Russell Westacott, EAAA co-chair, says that unlike a Will and Enduring Power of Attorney, elders are less aware of their rights to create a Family Agreement.

“Families often enter into significant financial and care arrangements with each other verbally, with no written documentation, or clear set of rules, and very little planning for worse case scenarios,” Westacott says.

“This can leave older people vulnerable to abuse.”

Russell Westacott, co-chair of Elder Abuse Action Australia, says that a lack of knowledge regarding the implementation of a Family Agreement is leaving elders open to financial abuse

During the one hour webinar, an expert panel will discuss the following:

  • What a Family Agreement is and why you or an elder you know might need one.
  • What a Family Agreement should include.
  • The steps involved in making a Family Agreement.
  • Advice on what you can do when things go wrong.
  • The consequences of gifting money or property to a family member or other person, or moving house and how it can affect the amount of age pension a person receives.

Date: March 17, 2022
Time: 12:30pm (AEST)
To register: follow this link.

About the panellists

Professor Eileen Webb – professor of law and ageing at the University of South Australia

Webb’s scholarly research focuses on ageing and the law (elder law) and the human rights of older people. Her recent research has focused on older people’s rights to housing, including security of tenure for older people and how the operation of existing laws may make older people susceptible to financial exploitation and housing vulnerability.

Dr Rachel Carson – a socio-legal researcher with expertise in family law and qualitative research about family law disputes

Carson is a senior research fellow and executive manager of the family law, family violence and elder abuse research team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. She has 20 years’ experience researching the Australian family law system.

Melanie Joosten – senior advisor for research and policy at RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice, social worker and writer

Joosten has worked in the areas of ageing, social policy and elder abuse for the last ten years at Seniors Rights Victoria and the National Ageing Research Institute, and has recently joined RMIT University as a senior researcher and policy adviser She is the author of the book A Long Time Coming: Essays on Old Age.

More about Compass/ EAAA

Compass is via this link.

Anyone requiring personal assistance with elder abuse can call 1800 ELDERHELP
(1800 353 374).

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