A Quick Guide To Financial Abuse Protections Under California Elder Laws
Seniors and vulnerable adults are unfortunately common targets for financial exploitation. It's much worse because the perpetrators are frequently individuals they trust. Not only can financial abusers steal from them, but they might even try to influence the elderly victim to change their wills and cause undue influence.
Here's a quick guide to elder financial abuse, as often handled by our prescreened West Covina Elder Abuse Attorneys in California.
There is no end to the types of financial abuse that can be perpetrated against dependent and elderly people. If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse, contact our prescreened West Covina Elder Law Attorneys to prevent additional abuse and reclaim any lost property.
What Is Elderly Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse is defined differently in each jurisdiction. However, it essentially involves someone in a position of trust or confidence exploiting, controlling, stealing, or fraudulently gaining the assets of a vulnerable adult for personal gain.
Elders, often known as senior citizens in California, are people aged 65 and up. However, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who have physical or mental impairments that prevent them from completing typical activities to protect themselves from financial abuse are classified as dependent adults.
Any physical abuse, financial abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or purposeful infliction of harm, pain, or mental anguish on someone recognized as an elder is considered elder abuse in California.
That said, if you need to pursue claims on the grounds of elder abuse, you'll need to help of a skilled prescreened West Covina Elder Law Attorney to help you. A lawyer will be able to help you gather evidence, file the right paperwork, and meet important deadlines.
Bringing An Elderly Financial Abuse Claim
It's not uncommon for financial abuse to go undetected for months or even years. Elder financial abuse is sometimes only discovered after a victim has died and their will or trust has been read, or the title to their real estate has been gained.
Whether a claim of financial abuse can be brought depends on whether the victim is alive or dead. Here's a quick rundown of these scenarios:
1. When Victims of Financial Abuse Are Still Alive
The easiest way to pursue an elder financial abuse claim is to do it while the victim is alive. If the victim is competent, they can present proof to back up their claim and reap the benefits of successful litigation if they win.
A victim will not be required to bring their own claim unless they have a proxy with legal authorization to do so on their behalf. Conservators, power of attorneys, and trustees are examples of these proxies.
If a victim lacks a legal proxy and is unable to file a financial abuse claim on their own, a family member or friend may apply for a conservatorship to file a claim on their behalf.
Of course, every case is different. To better understand how to pursue elder abuse claims in California, ask a prescreened West Covina Elder Financial Abuse Attorney.
2. When Victims of Financial Abuse Have Already Passed Away
Is there a beneficiary in a decedent's trust who is strange or unexpected? On their deathbed, did the decedent make any significant changes to their will or trust? Is it possible that an abuser defrauded your loved one of money or property before they died, leaving them penniless? It's possible that financial exploitation is to blame.
Certain parties may be able to file a financial abuse claim to reclaim assets that were wrongfully taken from a deceased before they died. If they suspect financial abuse of a dependent or elder by undue influence, coercion, or fraud, family members or beneficiaries of a will or trust may file a will or trust dispute to invalidate some or all elements of the document.
For example, if a perpetrator used undue influence on a family member, they might be able to manipulate the testator to change their wills and take away some of the rightful beneficiaries' inheritance.
Family members, trustees, executors/administrators, and conservators are among those who may also be entitled to contest a will or trust based on financial abuse after the victim has died.
Again, your case might have specific complications not discussed in this guide. You can contact a West Covina Elder Abuse Lawyer to help you find the best legal options for you and your family.
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