Elder Financial Abuse
According to the California Welfare and Institutions Code, Elder Financial Abuse is defined as follows:
15610.27. “Elder” means any person residing in this state, 65 years of age or older.
15610.30. (a) “Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following: (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 undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70. (b) A person or entity shall be deemed to have taken, secreted, appropriated, obtained, or retained property for a wrongful use if, among other things, the person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the property and the person or entity knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder or dependent adult. (c) For purposes of this section, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property when an elder or dependent adult is deprived of any property right, including by means of an agreement, donative transfer, or testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder or dependent adult. (d) For purposes of this section, “representative” means a person or entity that is either of the following: (1) A conservator, trustee, or other representative of the estate of an elder or dependent adult.
(2) An attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of the power of attorney.
While exact circumstances differ, the follow are common characteristics of people who perpetrate Elder Financial Abuse:
- Inappropriate banking activity such as unusually large withdrawals or withdrawals from automated banking machines
- Signatures on checks that do not resemble the elder’s signature
- Legal documents signed when the elder is physically incapable of writing
- Checks written out to “cash” being negotiated by caretakers
- Checks signed by the senior but filled out by someone else
- A surge of activity in accounts that have been static for years
- Expensive gifts made by the elder
- Checks or credit card transactions made out to direct mail or telemarketing promotions
- Contributions going to newly formed religious or non-profit causes
- Investments in timeshares, real property, annuities or financial products
- Large loans against home equity to finance investments
In addition, the following are legal document indicators to watch out for in cases of elder financial abuse:
- Power of attorney given by the elder when the elder lacks mental capacity
- A will or trust being made when the elder is not mentally competent
- Elder taking his or her name off of property titles
- The elder adding the name of a caretaker onto real property or money accounts in exchange for commitments of continued care, and or affection
The following are lifestyle changes that you might watch for to catch or stop elder financial abuse:
- Lack of amenities, such as personal grooming items or appropriate clothing, when the elder can well afford it
- Under-deployment of the elder’s existing resources that could be spent on housing, personal care, housing and maintenance
- Missing cash, jewelry and personal belongings
Finally, these are indicators of relations abusing the financial well being of an elder in their care:
- Family member in “conserving” the money being spent for the care of the elder
- Reluctance or refusal by “responsible party” to spend money on the elder’s care
- New acquaintances or long-lost relatives expressing affection for a wealthy elder
- A caretaker with an inappropriate level of interest in the elder’s financial matters
Elder financial abuse should not happen. Our attorneys have extensive experience with elder financial abuse as well as the associated Long Term Care Planning. We can help you ensure that you have a comprehensive long term care plan to legally protect your assets and personal being for the long term. Email us today to Request A Consultation or give us a call at 916-250-1511. We look forward to working with you.