Elder Abuse and Wills
It is an unfortunate reality that elder abuse occurs in Australia. The NSW Department of Family and Community Services has defined elder abuse as including financial abuse, where an elderly person’s assets are improperly used.
Common examples of elder abuse include:
- Improper use of a power of attorney
- Forcing or coercing an elderly person to change their will
- Denying them access to their own money
It is for these reasons that testamentary capacity (the ability to understand) is assessed to determine whether an elderly person has been unduly influenced.
Solicitors have important duties to their clients and because of this, it is important when drafting a will, that a solicitor is satisfied that their instructions are directly coming from the client, and not from anyone else.
To ensure that an elderly person making a will is competent to give instructions on their own behalf, the testator may be asked to be medically assessed. This will also help to ensure the validity of a will if a dispute arises and also satisfy the solicitor that the instructions received are the clients wishes.
For further information in relation to elder abuse, or to speak to someone confidentially, the Elder Abuse Hotline can be reached on 1800 628 221.
To speak to someone regarding your legal position, please call Kent Law Group on 02 4323 1900