Aussies Need to Know How to Balance Family Relationships in the Name of Money

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Families turning back on each other because of financial conflict have become rampant in Australia.

The legal space has been dealing with financial and emotional fallout in the family. Kylie Wilson, a Brisbane-based asset protection lawyer, revealed that financial abuse, financial theft, and mismanagement happen more in the house’s four walls.

“This is the problem in this [legal] space, all the awful things that family members will do to each other,” Wilson said.

Wilson emphasised that this scenario is more common in wealthy households than most people think, but even regular families– big and small file financial lawsuits against each other.

Wilson encountered abused parents. The elderly father became mentally unstable while the wife suffered breast cancer. Because of that, they gave their son the responsibility of handling their finances. This includes their $300,000 savings for a granny flat on his house and taking good care of them until their death.

Instead of granting his parent’s wishes, the son took the money, used it to renovate his house, and put it up for sale.

Wilson said that greed fuels him to do such acts. “Let’s just say he wasn’t a particularly nice person. But sometimes, parents struggle to see where their children might have personality issues. Which is not uncommon.”

Family financial conflicts also happen the other way around — parents victimising their children. A couple in Victoria has been involved in a high-profile case. A family financial trust covers their three children. However, the parents took away the money from the trust and gave a chunk only to their favoured child—the other two were left with nothing.

Linda Rosenman, emeritus professor of social work at The University of Queensland, gave some tips on how to avoid such conflicts. 

 “Well, I can tell you, you need to keep track of it [loans and gifts to children during your lifetime], and be clear,” stated Rosenman.

Lastly, look closely at your family members’ natural characteristics rather than your idealised perceptions of them.

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