Protecting Elders From Financial Abuse
If you have concerns regarding the validity of a will or a trust or trust amendment, you can bring an action to challenge the document. Our attorneys are focused on ensuring that the decedent’s assets pass to others in accordance with his or her wishes. Unfortunately, it is possible that the will or trust does not correctly convey those wishes. Will contests, trust disputes and financial elder abuse litigation can involve:
- Undue influence: Undue influence can be placed on someone with or without their knowledge. For example, a caregiver may compel a vulnerable adult into changing named beneficiaries after repeatedly berating the love, care, and support of family members who live in another state and cannot visit as frequently as they would like.
- Incapacity: Having sound mind is an essential requirement when establishing an estate plan. When a person makes changes in their will or trust after advanced stages of Alzheimer’s have set in or after a mental or emotional state has clouded their perception, the changes may not accurately reflect how they intended to pass their estate to others.
- Fraud: Many factors can raise concerns about possible fraud involving wills or trusts. Did the decedent’s power of attorney or conservator fraudulently make changes to a will or siphon assets from a trust for personal gain? Was a will forged or fraudulently modified? Was the most current last will and testament destroyed?
Financial Elder Abuse: Financial elder abuse occurs when a person, often a relative, exercises undue influence over the affairs of an elderly person who is unable to manage his or her own financial affairs. Simply put, financial elder abuse occurs when a person or entity takes, secrets, appropriates, or obtains real or personal property of an elder person by fraud or undue influence. (California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 15610.30) Under California law, there are strict penalties for those who commit financial elder abuse. A person who commits elder financial abuse cannot benefit from the victim’s estate, and the court can disinherit the abuser and strip him/her of any benefit previously taken. (California Probate Code Section 259)
If you believe you know someone who might be a victim of financial elder abuse, please contact The Walker Law Firm. As an example of our involvement, please refer to a recent non-reported appellate case, Campbell v. Campbell, G047181.
Whether you have concerns about your inheritance, wish to contest a will or trust, need assistance in financial elder abuse litigation, or in defending the validity of beneficiary designations in a will or trust dispute, the attorneys at The Walker Law Firm can assist you.
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