According to an Australian study that indicates the financial abuse of seniors, sons are more likely to swindle their elderly parents for money than daughters. The dangerous trend seems to be on the rise.
With Australians generally living longer and becoming wealthier, the issue of how families handle inheritances and the transfer of assets is becoming increasingly important, the report for Victoria's State Trustee found.
"The data we were able to find confirmed that the majority of older people coming to the attention of organisations because of financial abuse are women," the report released this week said.
"And that the people most likely to be perpetrating the abuse are sons and, to a lesser extent, daughters."
The average age for the senior subjected to swindling was around 80, with nearly a third older than 84, and some suffering from dementia and other illnesses, it said.
Forgery, misappropriating pension funds, pushing someone to change their will and transferring property titles are among the problems reported to the trustee, which manages the affairs of some 9,000 disabled Victorians.
"It's the State Trustees' experience that these crimes are increasing, but that's anecdotally," manager Steven Cowell told AFP on Tuesday. "And disturbingly, it appears to be sons rather than daughters."
Cowell said adult children often showed no remorse over their financial crimes, believing they were entitled to their parents' assets.
And he said rising property prices were contributing to the problem.
"A workman's cottage in the inner city of Melbourne, which wasn't worth much in 1950, is now a million dollar opportunity," he said. "It's easy wealth."
He said while adult children often set out to manage their parents' financial affairs in good faith, over time it could become confusing over who owned what and sometimes elderly parents were left with nothing.
"The tragic part of all these crimes is that monies are rarely retrieved," he said.