Elderly Woman Allegedly Tricked Into Signing Away Home by Adult Daughter

An elderly woman from New Zealand is fighting to keep her Auckland home after her adult daughter allegedly manipulated her into surrendering the property. The woman, who was identified only by the pseudonym "Julie" by RNZ Checkpoint, says that she has made repeated attempts to contact her daughter without success. None of her calls and texts have been returned, according to Checkpoint.

While Julie has brought a case against her daughter before the local courts, she said she "is terrified at what she could lose," as her house represented her only major source of financial security. Ever since she discovered her daughter's alleged deception, Julie told Checkpoint she has suffered from anxiety and depression, so much so that she has trouble eating and breathing on occasion.

"Where did she think I was going to live? What did she think I was going to do? Does she need my house? No. Has she got money? Yes. Why take my home?" Julie said, according to Checkpoint. "There's no excuse for it, there's no reason for it. It's just pure and utter greed. Just drop me in a rest home somewhere and forget about me. The government will take care of me—that was her idea."

Indirectly, the problem originated with Julie's decision to separate from her husband. In the aftermath of the split, Julie said, her daughter offered to help her sort out her finances, an offer that the 72-year-old, who had never had much to do with money, was more than happy to accept, Checkpoint reported.

"Getting the car registered, petrol, maintenance on the car, fixing the house. I had to take over all those things that I've never had anything to do with in my past. What do you do? It was another world to me," she said.

On the advice of her daughter, Julie told Checkpoint, she decided to put her home into what she was told was a family trust. The two stopped by Julie's daughter's lawyer's offices one day to make the decision final. There, Julie said, she was told to sign documents that she was told was "for the trust," Checkpoint reported.

"So of course, I read the first [page], it was all about the trust. When I turned over the page, my daughter said to me, 'Don't worry about that, reading it'," the Checkpoint report said. "She said, 'You can see on the bottom it's already signed...just sign it.' So from then on I just flipped the pages at the bottom, and I just signed everything, not knowing that I was signing away my home. That's how it happened."

In 2020, Julie's daughter called to tell her that she was planning to put the home on the market. When Julie protested, saying that she owned the home and would not agree to its sale, her daughter allegedly replied, "I'm selling the house because I own it."

"It turned out that in signing these documents so that my home could be put into her trust—because it was her idea to put it in the trust—I signed away my house to her," Julie, who is speaking up to raise awareness of elder abuse, said.

Julie has since been put in touch with Anne Foley, a social worker with Age Concern, a local organization that specializes in such cases. Foley told Checkpoint that elder abuse is often financially motivated and perpetrated by adult children, especially adult daughters.

"That is about, 'Well, I'm going to get the money anyways, so why not get it now? My parents have lived their life, I'm the one with the mortgage, I'm the one with the debt.' Or it could be that you're an adult child who has a drug and alcohol addiction or gambling addiction, so you need the money," she said.

Nearly 10 percent of people over the age of 65 will become victims of neglect or abuse, according to Age Concern CEO Kevin Lamb.

An elderly woman rests at a talk.
An elderly woman rests at a meeting with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on March 26, 2004 in New York City. In New Zealand, an elderly woman alleges that her adult daughter duped her into signing away the ownership rights to her home. Mario Tama/Getty Images