How to File a Financial Elder Abuse Claim
Financial exploitation has been called the “crime of the 21st century,” and the fact of the matter is that elders are disproportionately targeted. The best way to fight financial elder abuse is to avoid letting it happen in the first place. However, it does happen, and in California, it happens very often. If you, or a loved one, have been a victim you deserve to have an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney in your corner who will fight tooth and nail for your rights.
At the Law Offices of Nigel Burns, a large area of our practice is dedicated to litigating financial elder abuse cases. Our trial attorneys for elder financial abuse in LA have a proven track record of getting our clients the results that they deserve and a reputation for fighting for our client’s rights from the moment we take on a new client’s case through the appeals process.
In California, there are numerous laws in place to protect elders’ legal rights. Further, victims of financial abuse have many remedies available to them that are not typically available in civil lawsuits. However, the law only protects those who demand justice. That is why our experienced, aggressive trial attorneys for financially abused elders, who know how to navigate the legal system, can make all of the difference in the outcome of your financial elder abuse case.
What is Financial Elder Abuse?
In California, financial elder abuse is broadly defined. Financial abuse occurs when a person or entity takes or keeps an elder’s property for wrongful use or with the intent to defraud, or assists someone else in doing so. An elder is defined as someone who has reached the age of 65.
Common types of financial elder abuse include:
- Abuse by family members
- Abuse by "new best friends” or romantic partners who come into a person’s life at a later stage and take advantage of them financially
- Changing title on real estate, bank accounts, cars, and other property
- Emptying bank accounts
- Defrauding elders into changing their trusts or wills.
- Power of attorney abuse
Sadly, the most common perpetrators of financial elder abuse are people who are close to their elder victims, such as family members, financial advisors, trusted friends, and romantic partners.
Common signs of financial elder abuse include:
- Isolation: attempts are made by a friend, caregiver, or family member to isolate an elder, or the elder person suddenly becomes significantly more difficult to get a hold of.
- Frequent checks for cash are written to a caregiver or his or her financial institution.
- An elder’s living conditions are well below his or her financial resources
- Unusual or inappropriate bank account activity is reported.
- Bills go unpaid or are overdue, despite that someone is supposed to be paying them for the elder.
- Large frequent gifts to a caregiver.
- Sudden transfers of title to assets or real estate for no apparent reason.
- Unanticipated changes to trusts and wills
- An elder is reluctant to talk about topics that were at a one-time routine
The California legislature has passed numerous laws to try to curb the problem at hand. Unfortunately, the state does not have the resources to seek out every case of financial abuse. Furthermore, criminal prosecutions are relatively rare. Therefore, hiring an elderly abuse attorney who is experienced in civil, family, and probate law, can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case, as you try to prove elder financial exploitation.
Our lawyers for exploited and financially abused elderly have achieved the following results for our clients:
- Frozen bank accounts to immediately stop financial abuse
- Secured temporary and permanent restraining orders to protect elders from their financial abusers
- Obtained judgments both in court and through arbitration rescinding changes in the title of real property, essentially putting our clients back in their homes
- Obtained favorable damage awards in court and through arbitration.
- Secured court-awarded attorney’s fees and costs of litigation for our clients
Remedies Specific to Elder Abuse Cases
Under the Welfare and Institutions Code, elders may recover:
- Damages otherwise available under the law
- Unilateral recovery of attorney fees and costs of litigation
- Under California’s Probate Code, a person who takes, conceals, or disposes of personal property from an elder or dependent adult will be liable for THREE TIMES the value of the property
- Under California’s Civil Code, courts are given wide discretion to award damages against a person who uses deceptive acts or unfair practices against an elder
- Under California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Act, the courts may award up to $250,000 in non-economic damages.
- Under the Federal Elder Justice Act, operators and employees of long-term care facilities are required to report suspected committed crimes.
If you suspect you or your loved one are victims of elder financial abuse, we provide a list of helpful resources below for your consideration.
Adult Protective Services is a great resource if you were a victim of elderly financial abuse. You can either call them directly or request immediate help from law enforcement and health enforcement officials. When you submit a report, they work with you to investigate to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred before taking legal action against the nursing home for negligence. According to the National Center of Elder Abuse, 10% to 50% of elderly with dementia get taken advantage of. At the Law Offices of Nigel Burns, we take this seriously – as you await your consultation, you can refer to this article for more information on Adult Protective Services.
Financial exploitation is not always easy to uncover. As more of us rely on technology, so does the risk of getting scammed. Unfortunately, elders are disproportionately targeted. The best way to fight financial elder abuse is to learn the warning signs. When it happens, you deserve to have trusted legal counsel on your side. Read on to learn about how to file an elder abuse claim in California.
Elder abuse is defined as abusive behavior that is intended to inflict physical, or emotional harm on an individual aged 60+. Actions may include hitting, slapping, pinching, over or under medicating, and deprivation of food or water. Whichever the reason, victims may be entitled to justice and compensation for their losses. When abused, elders may be in a physically weakened or vulnerable state, which is why it is vital to have a lawyer you can trust on your side.
Nursing homes are intended to be a great space where elderly residents can receive quality care and assisted living. They should be provided with great resident care, nothing less. In most scenarios, elder neglect occurs when nursing home staff fail to provide proper care to the victim. If the person getting cared for is unable to care for themselves, they are considered high risk. When an attorney investigates to establish liability, the individuals listed below will be considered:
- Nursing home workers
- Caregivers living with the elderly victim
- Medical professionals
- Respite caregivers
Your case should not go unnoticed or unresolved. We understand how stressful it may be to handle this on your own. At The Law Offices of Nigel Burns, we more than several years of experience helping elder victims get the justice they deserve.
Are you familiar with what elder abuse and neglect may look like? Elder abuse is any action or inability to act that leads to an elderly individual getting hurt. At any nursing home, the staff must legally provide a duty of care to their patients. Neglect is a serious offense and should be treated as such. It may be easier for you to file a financial abuse claim if you’re aware of the varying types of elder abuse and neglect.
Elderly communities are being taken advantage of through scams online and over the phone. As we age, our cognitive abilities decline. Additionally, medications can alter our ability to think, and react and make decisions. A power of attorney can be granted for many different things. In most cases, a power of attorney can be used to give another person the right to act on your behalf in case you are deemed mentally unfit by those around you. In most cases, it is as sensitive as appointing a beneficiary in your will or managing key components of your estate. Read on for more information about scams, and what you can do if you were taken advantage of because of one.