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Areas of Practice
Financial Elder Abuse Litigation
Business & Commercial Law
Financial Elder Abuse. What Is it?
If you know an elder adult in Orange County or Riverside County and if you have concerns that someone may be taking that elder adult’s money or property without their consent or understanding, you may be witnessing financial elder abuse. To stop financial elder abuse, you can bring a lawsuit to stop the taking. Financial elder abuse litigation can involve bank accounts, deeds, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. Commonly someone places themselves in charge of the elder’s money or property by undue influence or by taking advantage of an incapacity or by actual fraud.
- Undue influence: Undue influence can be placed on someone with or without their knowledge. For example, a caregiver may compel a vulnerable adult into changing named beneficiaries after repeatedly berating the love, care, and support of family members who live in another state and cannot visit as frequently as they would like.
- Incapacity: Having sound mind is an essential requirement when establishing an estate plan. When a person makes changes in their will or trust after advanced stages of Alzheimer’s have set in or after a mental or emotional state has clouded their perception, the changes may not accurately reflect how they intended to pass their estate to others.
- Fraud: Many factors can raise concerns about possible fraud involving wills or trusts. Did the decedent’s power of attorney or conservator fraudulently make changes to a will or siphon assets from a trust for personal gain? Was a will forged or fraudulently modified? Was the most current last will and testament destroyed?
- Financial Elder Abuse: Financial elder abuse occurs when a person, often a relative, exercises undue influence over the affairs of an elderly person who is unable to manage his or her own financial affairs. Simply put, financial elder abuse occurs when a person or entity takes, secrets, appropriates, or obtains real or personal property of an elder person by fraud or undue influence. (California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 15610.30) Under California law, there are strict penalties for those who commit financial elder abuse. A person who commits elder financial abuse cannot benefit from the victim’s estate, and the court can disinherit the abuser and strip him/her of any benefit previously taken. (California Probate Code Section 259)
If you believe you know someone who might be a victim of financial elder abuse, please contact The Walker Law Firm. As an example of our involvement, please refer to a recent non-reported appellate case, Campbell v. Campbell, G047181.
When you have concerns about financial elder abuse, the attorneys atThe Walker Law Firm can assist you. The sooner you seek legal assistance, the better, especially with financial elder abuse. The elder adult’s assets can disappear quickly if someone is committing financial elder abuse.