John* sold his house and gifted the money to his daughter and her husband so she could buy a new home. The daughter built a granny flat for John to live in and be cared for by her.

Later, the daughter and her husband had a falling out, which led to John being psychologically abused and told to move out.

John now has no home, no money and a reduced pension, all consequences of the gift to his daughter. He faces extreme hardship, with the real possibility of being made homeless.

This scenario is surprisingly common. You love your children, and your grandchildren, and want to help them buy their first home. However, many people are unaware of the possible consequences of giving their children financial gifts.

Did you know that gifting property or large amounts of money to family or friends could affect your Centrelink payments? Are you aware that agreeing to guarantee a family member or friend’s loan could also impact your age pension? Or that you could be at risk of having to pay out the loan?

Sometimes the problems between an ageing parent and a family member are part of on-going difficulties after years of conflict.

As people age they may find it increasingly difficult to resist pressure from a family member or someone they trust into giving money or assets, with some older people further threatened with not seeing their grandchildren.

These situations can be avoided by seeking advice well before you make any commitments. Don’t rely on a family member’s promise to put your interests ahead of theirs – seek out legal and financial advice as soon as possible.

Always put agreements in writing and ensure you update your documents if your situation changes.

If you are an older person whose personal needs are not being taken care of, and you are isolated from friends and loved ones, or you don’t feel comfortable and safe in your own home you could be experiencing elder abuse.

Take the time to think about your well-being and if you have issues speak to your doctor or contact Seniors Rights Service for free and confidential advice.

In February 2018 Seniors Rights Service hosts the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference, Together Making Change, which has many high-level speakers. These include Anna Bligh AC, CEO Australian Bankers Association; HON Ken Wyatt AM MP, Commonwealth Minister for Aged Care, with M.C. Virginia Trioli. Register now to confirm your place:

For free and confidential legal advice and information on your rights contact Seniors Rights Service 1800 424 079

*This case study is an example of a call to Seniors Rights Service.  Names have been changed. This is information only, not legal advice. If you have a legal problem call our service directly or see your lawyer.