As discussed in last week's Blog article, Financial Elder Abuse is a growing and serious problem in California. The Welfare and Institutions Code defines it as a situation in which someone:
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.
Buffington Law Firm's elder law and trust litigation attorneys have frequently dealt with situations where two persons (not spouses) are co-owners of bank accounts. This often occurs, for example, when a relative is placed on an elderly person's bank account as co-owner so that such person can help pay bills and so forth. In many situations the person who contributes most or all of the funds to the bank account does not intend to make a gift to the new account "co-owner." Many people do not read the forms that they sign when they place another person on the account and banks are notoriously poor at explaining the legal ramifications of the forms that they give the people to sign.
Financial Elder Abuse is a serious problem in California. Elderly folk sometimes lack mental vigor and sharpness, and this can sometimes cause them to be excessively trusting, particularly of relatives and their own offspring. California law provides that any California resident age 65 or older is an "Elder" for the purposes of the statute. Buffington Law Firm's elder law attorneys have frequently dealt with court cases involving allegations of financial elder abuse. In this brief Blog article we will discuss the basic nature of financial elder abuse in California.
Buffington Law Firm's Trust and Elder Law attorneys are sometimes faced with situations that deal with the issue as to whether a person has the mental capacity to make a contract or, alternatively, testamentary capacity -- the ability to make a will or trust. To the layperson this may seem straightforward -- it may seem as though a person either has mental capacity or he or she does not. However, under the law, generally, the required mental capacity to make testamentary decisions is lower than the mental capacity required to make contracts.
Buffington Law Firm's team of Elder, Trust, and Undue Influence attorneys often deal with controversies involving the mental competence of Elders. (As used herein, the term "Elder" shall have the meaning set forth in the Welfare & Institutions Code: A California resident 65 or older.) It is very common in Trust and other forms of Elder litigation that one party or other will allege that another party, often an elderly person, lacks mental competence, i.e. the mental competence to execute testamentary documents or the competence to contract. While this may sometimes be a legitimate issue in litigation, sometimes this is a litigation tactic which, if successful, can be extremely intrusive and distressful to the subject Elder.