Financial elder abuse in California is a pervasive and growing problem. Buffington Law Firm’s Trust and Elder Law litigation attorneys have frequently and repeatedly encountered egregious examples of financial elder abuse. We have a track record of solving such problems.
Financial Elder Abuse is broadly defined in California. The Welfare and Institutions Code defines it as a situation in which someone:
(1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.
(3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by means of undue influence.
The law requires that the defendant knows or should have known that his or her actions had the effect of harming the elder. This latter element is rarely difficult to prove. [Cal. Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30].
Elder abuse can and does take many forms. Sometimes it arises in a situation in which an elder trusts a friend or relative to manage all or part of the elder’s financial affairs. This often creates a situation in which the trusted person then conveys the elder’s financial or real property assets to his or her ownership. Very elderly persons are often trusting and vulnerable to this kind of abuse. In other situations an elder allows a trusted person to have signatory authority on his or her bank accounts to assist in billpaying. This can (and frequently does) easily lead to takings from the account. There are many variations on this theme as you might imagine.
California law provides for damages and attorney’s fees in the event of elder abuse. If the takings involve a living trust as is very often the case, double damages may be recoverable. Elder abuse is serious business.
If you or a loved one are a victim of elder abuse, fast action is the best remedy. Buffington Law Firm’s team of elder law and trust litigators have decades of experience in taking fast action to recover property on behalf of victimized elder persons. We invite you to speak to us confidentially in a free legal consultation. All consultations are free of charge with no obligation, protected by attorney-client privilege, and take place with a practicing experienced elder law attorney. Call us today!