Oct 30, 2017

Stealing from Elderly Parents: Sons Take Millions and The Family Home

Sometimes elder abuse can come from the people whom you least expect – the person’s own children.

Elder abuse can come in many forms – physical, emotional, verbal and even financial. Financial abuse is particularly frequent as adult children try to take money and property that was once in their parent’s name.  

A recent case of this was seen in Western Australia, where three sons managed to siphon more than $1.6 million from their parents, who were both in their 80s, when they didn’t give them the family estate.

Earlier this year, in March, one of the sons helped his elderly father sell the family farm in Wyening.

However, he later transferred $1.6 million and split it three ways with his two brothers.

He also took a personal commission of $50,000, and transferred a further $244,000, of which he later returned $200,000.

There were reportedly some “questionable transactions” in the following months.These transactions included “very large cash withdrawals” as well as giving one son $3,000 for rent and groceries.

It wasn’t long after that, in April, that the elderly couple’s granddaughter stepped in and requested an independent administrator for her grandmother.  

The granddaughter said that her elderly grandmother had been living with dementia, and had recently lost a considerable amount of weight, missed family events and medical appointments, and had her landline disconnected.

A few days after the request was made, she had an altercation with her own father – who was one of the three sons.

On April 13, the granddaughter contacted the family doctor and had her grandparents admitted to hospital on April 13, fearing they were at risk.

It was that very day when the three sons took the proceeds from the sale of the Wyening farm from their parents’ joint account.

From there the family’s internal conflict got worse. Against the daughter’s wishes for an independent administrator, the sons requested if they could, instead, be appointed guardian and administrator for their parents.

Turning against their own children, they suggested that their elderly parents “vulnerable to financial exploitation by [their] grandchildren”, and that they were being held “against their will in hospital”. However, the tribunal said it did not accept these claims.  

After that one of the sons, under a false name, discharged the elderly parents against medical advice.

On top of what they did to their parents’ farm, they also targeted their parents home in Mullaloo.

The sons ‘gifted’ the home to themselves, even though the tribunal said that their elderly mother “lacked the legal capacity required” for the transaction.

The sons even used their parents’ money to pay for renovation and repair to the home after they had transferred it to themselves, along with the sons’ legal fees.

Due to the financial dealing and family conflict that was occurring, the tribunal appointed a Public Trustee as administrator for the elderly couple, and a Public Advocate appointed, with his limited guardianship, for the grandmother. ,

An injunction was also placed to prevent the sons from dealing with any finances associated with their parents’ farm.

Regardless of what kind of upbringing a person had, or how strained the relationship is, or how challenging their financial situation is currently, stealing from your own parents will always be wrong.

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  1. Hi Lauren!

    Elder abuse much more common than the community would appreciate. Experiencing such a case within my own extended family over the past couple of years. The super fund is being progressively drained $150K has become $70K, expensive jewellery has been taken, the vehicle appropriated by the drug addled daughter. Unfortunately in my experience it is usually the victim of such abuse that is the last to realize it is happening to them if they ever do. In this case the financial abuse ramped up after the abusive daughter had effectively cut off support networks, work, husband, other family members, etc.

    Difficult to watch this happening to someone you love.

    Thank you for once again raising this issue.

  2. Ah yes, happened in our family as well. Father in law dies leaving the mother very well off. Son (1 of 8) who lived interstate and had little to do with his parents, sold the family home after stripping it, moved his mother between another family member and himself being pushed between 2 states of Australia. Syphoned over 1mil from the estate and shared with some family members. Proven to have fraudelently taken the money and could have been convicted with a jail sentence of 6 years. A mothers love is greater than anything and she did not believe what he and others had done, so never pressed charges. This sort of thing divides families but it happens for sure. Very sad indeed. These are not isolated instances. I dont know how they live with themselves

  3. I believe my only brother the oldest stole from our 90 year old mother. The thief stole the sum of $200,000.00 plus in cash and my sister and I has turned a blind eye to the thief, but it bugs the hell out of me!

    1. My brother stole 120,000 from my father and lied about it. Half of which wouid have been mine. I still talk to him, but He utterly disgusts me and I resent him for being a lier and a thief. He also stole money from my uncle who helped him buy a property. My family says if I say something to him he’ll never talk to me again. I don’t get how someone can do this and not take accountability. But all his friends and acquaintances think he’s the greatest person out there. I find him self-righteous and self interested. I find it hard to stomach him sometimes. Does anyone have any advice?

  4. We know our older brother stole over $200,.000.00 in cash from our 90 year old mother.. My sister and I found over $100,000.00 in cash in his bedroom and has turned a blind eye to the thief, but it bugs the hell out of me!

  5. Just aware of it now. A daughter, alcohol problems, 2nd of 9 kids took over control of the substantial assets and excluded all others from sharing responsibility or oversight.Did not take care of our parents, just the money
    What she didnt spend, she moved to joint accounts with her name on them so those assets go to her and are exc.uded from the estate now that both parents are deceased …
    I think she will not lose sleep over it but despite my years in medicine including psych, i cannot understand how someone can do that sort of thing and face another sober day for the remainder of their mserable lives

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