Managing Director and Special Counsel, Simon Creek, joins Channel 9’s Tracey Vo to discuss what you can do to protect yourself for elder abuse. Watch the clip below for more on what Simon Creek had to say.
Tracey Vo [00:00:00] A Perth mother has just been jailed for cleaning out her father’s superannuation account to fund her drug habit stealing his password to transfer more than 80 thousand dollars into her own account. It’s a sad example of elder abuse often committed by a close and trusted family member. So what can you do to protect your savings. Simon Creek from HHG Legal Group is with us this afternoon. Good afternoon to you Simon.
Simon Creek [00:00:22] Hello Tracey.
Tracey Vo [00:00:23] In this case all it took was a stolen password. But what other ways can your super or savings be at risk?
Simon Creek [00:00:29] The biggest risk is the enduring power of attorney. This document which everybody encourages people to have quite rightly is effectively handing over control of your affairs to hopefully a trusted individual. But quite often someone who might let you down.
Tracey Vo [00:00:45] Okay well given an elder abuse thefts are often committed by someone who might already have access to it to your finances how often does it go unnoticed and how difficult can it be to prove?
Simon Creek [00:00:54] Well I think the current case is a great example in the eighty one thousand dollars didn’t disappear overnight. It went in different tranches if you like, and took some time to disappear altogether. And that is common. People of an elderly age don’t always check their transactions and accounts as often as we might.
Tracey Vo [00:01:16] How difficult is it to recover stolen money especially superannuation in a situation like this especially if it’s already been spent?
Simon Creek [00:01:24] This is the biggest problem. It’s why prevention is so much better than a cure in that if that money has gone on a drug habit or a depreciating asset or overseas you’re very unlikely to ever see it back. And so people need to take basic steps to look after themselves.
Tracey Vo [00:01:39] So what what are the ways that you can protect against this above all else?
Simon Creek [00:01:44] Don’t trust everybody even within your own family also set up accountability have two attorneys acting for you not just one checking transactions often have a lawyer or a financial planner looking at your overall financial position often enough to prevent this going wrong in a big way steps like that can make all the difference in the world.
Tracey Vo [00:02:06] Are you seeing a growing trend here in this kind of problem?
Simon Creek [00:02:09] Unfortunately one causes this exploding drug problem we have across Australia that is driving a lot of it. But the other issue which disturbs us even more because it seems unexplainable is this ever growing hardness and coldness towards the family unit and where that’s coming from and what’s that what that’s being driven by is beyond us as lawyers.
Tracey Vo [00:02:34] Certainly a sad situation but certainly keeping you busy as well. Simon Creek thanks for joining us this afternoon and your advice as well.
Simon Creek [00:02:41] My pleasure Tracey.