Are you experiencing elder abuse?
What is elder abuse? It's where the children of parents are unwilling to await their inheritance. They instead try to abuse their parents in different ways to try and get their dirty hands on their parent's money before the death of their parent.
Recent reports indicate that up to one in five older Western Australians are suffering from elder abuse.
I believe that the Korean community being a new migrant group may not have many elders within their midst. However, if they have elders in their family, the children need to be aware of any possible elder abuse by their siblings.
Elder abuse is such a bad problem that a recent National Elder Abuse Annual Report was done. It found that 32.2% of perpetrators are the older person's son and 30.7% are the person's daughter.
Experts believe that that is only the tip of an iceberg with many cases going unreported.
So what kind of abuse are our poor seniors suffering from:
(a) abuse of enduring power of attorney given to relatives.
(b) emotional abuse by preventing parents from having contact with other children.
(c ) slapping or even burning parents.
(d) over medicating or under medicating. Why?
With a hope that the parent's life will be shortened so that the children get their hands on their inheritance faster.
The list goes on and it saddens me when I have to face these cases in my practice. However, I feel strongly about issues of parental abuse more than anything else in my practise of law.
Being a traditional Asian brought up to respect and honour my parents, such cases touches a raw nerve in my body.
Elder abuse could happen by placing your father in an all English speaking nursing home instead of one where the staff speaks the language that your father only understands and where there are residents of the same cultural background.
I am in the midst of a case where an enduring power of attorney was given to a son. The son is now trying to sell the family home and stopping the father from seeing the other children.
An enduring power of attorney is a document that authorises your attorney to deal with your assets. Very often a parent decides that they DO NOT have the mental capacity to deal with their property matters any more. They then give the enduring power of attorney to a son or daughter. The child then takes advantage of the authority given by their parents and proceed to sell assets of the parent so that they can access the funds of the parents.
An enduring power of guardianship is an authority given to someone to make decisions for you in regards to life style choices like:
(a) where you live,
(b) what medical treatment you get,
(c) who you are allowed to spend time with.
Hence, it is important that you see a lawyer to discuss your rights especially in whether an enduring power of attorney or guardianship should be given to any child.
If you believe any seniors are being abused, you should report the matter to www.advocare.org.au
For parents. they should think hard about whom they are giving their enduring power of attorneys or enduring power of guardianships to. Seek legal advice to protect yourself.
Tan and Tan Lawyers have been serving the Perth Asian community for over 30 years. Please give us a call if you think you need help. We have a Korean born lawyer, James Jung who speaks fluent Korean. He is always keen to help his Korean contacts.