California’s elders, ages 65 and older, are especially financially vulnerable to people they trust and to schemes perpetrated by others designed to take their money. California has enacted strong laws that give attorneys powerful tools to protect their elders and allows elders, or their representatives, to recover financially from the abusers and punish them under certain circumstances.
Financial Elder Abuse happens when any person or entity takes or retains real or personal property of an elder for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud. This includes includes assisting in taking of any property of someone 65 or older.
Wrongful use defined as when the person who took advantage of the elder knew their actions would have a harmful effect on the victim. Under the California law, if the elder can demonstrate that the abuser was guilty of “recklessness, oppression, fraud or malice,” the elder can also recover punitive damages.
As parents grow older, they often place one or more adult children in charge of their family finances, or the family trust, either informally, or formally, by making the adult child a trustee or through a durable power of attorney. These potentially confer broad powers to the holder. Some adult children intentionally, or through their own incompetence, breach their elder’s trust and take or improperly use the elder’s assets. Sometimes the elder’s caretakers put themselves into a position of trust so that they may accomplish a theft of the elder’s assets.
Akay Law has has handled a variety of financial elder abuse cases. In one matter, a daughter-in- law in charge of a senile elder’s finances, secretly went on extravagant shopping sprees. She spent $20,000 to $30,000 per month.
In another matter, an adult child trustee took unaccounted for cash out of the parents’ estate bank accounts and made other purchases for herself in breach of the trust originally reposed to her by her parents.
In yet another matter, an unscrupulous attorney, without ever meeting the severely incapacitated elder, assisted the elder’s brother take her home by creating a trust instrument transferring the elder’s home to the abusing brother – in this instance, the brother was liable for
financial elder abuse because he wrongfully took under the statute, and the attorney was liable for assisting the wrongful taking, and in neglecting his legal duties to his client, the abused elder.
If you suspect that an elder is a victim of Financial Elder Abuse, you should notify the Adult Protective Services in your area, and contact a financial elder abuse attorney to discuss your options. Akay Law understands these cases can be difficult, because they often are perpetrated by those you love or have entrusted to do the right thing. Attorney Doug Akay doesn't take these cases as a matter of vengeance but as a necessary measure to protect those who were unable to defend themselves.
Suffering from the dishonesty of others can rob you of believing in the good intentions of others. As my client, we’ll rebuild that trust through a personal relationship based on my understanding of your needs. If someone has taken advantage of you or a loved one, set up an appointment with me at Akay Law.