Ways and Means of Financial Abuse

4 September 2012

By Alison Taylor

4 September 2012—The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia held their first CLE on Elder Mediation on May 16, 2012.  The Canadian Centre of Elder Law participated in the CLE, with staff lawyer Emma Butt presenting the Centre’s report on Elder Guardianship Mediation.  To view a copy of the Elder Guardianship Mediation Report, click here.

Amongst this and other presentations at the CLE was a presentation by Kathleen Cunningham of the BC Public Guardian and Trustee’s office on her research paper  “Ways and Means of Financial Abuse”.  The paper is an excellent resource for practitioners, senior-serving professionals and members of the public.  It provides a clear, concise and thorough review of the ways in which financial abuse can be, and often is, perpetrated against older adults in Canada through the use of legitimate transactions and financial arrangements.  While the aim of the paper is not to resolve issues related to financial abuse, it is intended to raise awareness of the variety and types of arrangements that are being used to perpetrate abuse of older adults.  It is usually those known to the older adult, such as family members, friends and caregivers, that are responsible for the abuse, whether carried out innocently or maliciously.

The financial arrangements discussed in the report include gifts, guarantees, reverse mortgages, credit, powers of attorney, joint ownership of property, wills and private care agreements.  Throughout the paper, scenarios and fact-patterns are used to illustrate the different types of abuse, helping the reader to understand how financial abuse situations arise in the context of complex family and caregiving relationships.

Ms. Cunningham has updated the paper as of August 2012 and granted the CCEL permission to publish the paper on our website.  You can access a full copy of the paper here.

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