May 30, 2016

$900k plus – not bad for a day’s work

media report relating to an investigation into the actions of a nursing home manager should set alarm bells ringing for the aged and their families. It also should be a warning to those who promote the self-made will kits which can be sourced from your local newsagent.

Particularly vulnerable are the aged without family.

The investigation by the Nurses Board relates to a Melbourne nurse who mysteriously became the sole beneficiary of a dying man’s $939,000.00 wealth.

The 92 year old bachelor whose estate is at the centre of the investigation had no close family.  He was taken to a nursing home in Melbourne because he was too weak to stay in his own home.

His un-renovated workingman’s terrace house (with outside toilet) had over the years become a very valuable property.

The old bachelor had always been suspicious of those who looked after him, accusing them of wanting to be written into his will.  He had told neighbours that he planned to leave his property to the state or its institutions because they had looked after him so well.  He was particularly fond of St Vincent’s Hospital and the Brotherhood of St Lawrence’s Coolibah Centre on Brunswick Street.

On the death of the old bachelor, his neighbours were shocked to learn that he had donated his $900,000.00 estate to a nurse in charge of the aged care facility.

The will was a ‘do it yourself will’ and it looked like the old bachelor struggled with it – spidery handwriting was everywhere and false starts were crossed out.  The two witnesses were staff members of the aged care facility.

On a complaint to the aged care facility (run by St Vincent’s Health) an investigation was launched.

St Vincent’s Health said that the investigation found no evidence that the nurse exerted any influence or pressure over the old bachelor.

Concern as to what happened has continued with neighbours not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation. An unnamed staff member of St Vincent’s Health has  been quoted as saying “It just seems like a big cover-up.  I can’t believe it”.

The case raises questions about the checks and balances around Wills and the need for protection against elder financial abuse.