Financial Elder Abuse Litigation
Financial elder abuse affects an estimated 6 million Americans every year.
Abuse can occur when you least expect it.
A caretaker, friend, neighbor or family member with bad intentions can slowly gain control of an elder’s necessities of life, medication, and financial accounts. Lies, isolation, threats of abandonment combine to coerce an elder into handing over money and property. In the worst of cases, new estate planning documents are created benefiting the bad actor and disinheriting the rest of the children or family.
California has a rich body of law to protect elders (defined as anyone aged 65 or older) from the devastating effects of financial elder abuse. California elder abuse laws can also be used to correct an ill-gotten estate plan and allow assets to pass to the rightful heirs of an estate.
Albertson & Davidson, LLP has helped hundreds of clients to fight against financial abuse of elders in California.
Undue Influence, under California law, arises when a bad acting person overcomes the elder’s free will and persuades the elder to give the bad acting person money, houses, and other property. In determining whether undue influence was exercised by the bad acting person or the elder, the following is considered:
- The vulnerability of the victim. Evidence of vulnerability includes incapacity, illness, disability, injury, age, eduction, impaired cognitive function, emotional distress, isolation, or dependency, and whether the bad acting person knew or should have known of the victim’s vulnerability.
- The bad acting person’s apparent authority. Evidence of apparent authority includes status as a Trustee, Executor, Conservator, or other type of Fiduciary, family member, care provider, health care professional, legal professional, spiritual adviser, expert, or other qualification.
- The actions or tactics used by the bad acting person. Evidence of actions or tactics used include (i) controlling necessaries of life, medication, the victim’s interactions with others, access to information, or sleep; (ii) Use of affection, intimidation, or coercion; and (iii) Initiation of changes in personal or property rights, use of haste or secrecy in effecting those changes, effecting changes at inappropriate times and places, and claims of expertise in effecting changes.
- The equity of the result. Evidence of the equity of the result includes the economic consequences to the victim, any divergence form the victim’s prior intent or course of conduct or dealing, the relationship of the value conveyed to the value of any services or consideration received, or the appropriateness of the change in light of the length and nature of the relationship.
The attorneys and Albertson & Davidson, LLP have a successful track record in bringing financial elder abuse claims against bad acting individuals who take an elder’s or dependent adult’s assets by the exercise of undue influence. Please contact us if you have any questions.