Granite Bay Financial & Elder Abuse Attorney

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Granite Bay Financial & Elder Abuse Lawyer

The legal term “elder abuse” refers to the financial exploitation of an elderly person’s finances and resources, as well as the intentional physical or emotional abuse of an elderly person. Financial and elder abuse are growing problems across the US, especially in California, where more than 5 million residents are 65 or older, and that number continues to grow. For those of us with elderly or aging loved ones in Granite Bay, it’s important to be aware of what California laws are in place to safeguard and protect our loved ones’ rights, both physical and financial. Unfortunately, as people begin to age and suffer from a decline in cognitive awareness or mental function, they often become unwitting victims of financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.

A Granite Bay Financial & Elder Abuse Attorney You Can Trust Call (916) 827-3427

What Is Financial & Elder Abuse?

As our elderly loved ones age, they are more likely to suffer from various mental impairments, like dementia and Alzheimer’s, or have simple lapses in judgment. As a result, they become easier targets for scheming individuals to take advantage of and prey on them for their money, finances, property, stocks, and other assets or to cause them bodily harm. Financial elder abuse can involve a variety of scenarios. In some instances, an elder unknowingly signs their property away to another. In another common scenario, an elder is coerced or tricked into making bad investments. In whatever scenario, the perpetrator knowingly manipulates an elder to secure personal gain.

Types of Financial Abuse

According to California Welfare and Institutions Code section 15600, anyone over 65 years is considered an elder and is protected by the law from all forms of abuse, whether physical, emotional, or financial. Financial abuse of an elderly person occurs when an individual does one of the following:

  • Takes, obtains, steals, or retains real estate or other personal property from an elderly person through deceit and exploitation and uses it for wrongful personal use or fraud or both.
  • Assists another in the process of taking, obtaining, stealing, or retaining real estate or personal property for wrongful personal use or fraud or both.
  • A person takes, steals, obtains, appropriates, or retains an elder or dependent adult’s real or personal property through undue influence.

Elders Can Be Financially Abused Through Undue Influence

Undue influence occurs when an individual or group uses their position of power to influence an elderly person or adult dependent for personal financial gain through persuasion. Elderly individuals are more likely to be subject to undue influence if they suffer from an illness or experience diminished mental capacity due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Undue influence is a form of elder abuse commonly employed by individuals who appear to be in a position of authority. They are then able to use their authority to influence the elder for personal or financial gain. Positions of authority may include, but are not limited to:

  • Status as fiduciary
  • Family member
  • Care provider
  • Spiritual advisor/mentor
  • Legal professional
  • Health care professional
  • Expert in another field

When a person is in a position of authority or power, they can use their influence to financially exploit the elder or dependent adult under their care or influence. Some methods they may employ include coercion, suggestion, intimidation, and controlling life necessities like sleep, medication, food, and the elder’s interactions with others. These individuals may also exploit the elder under their authority by accessing and gathering private information. At the same time, the victim sleeps and initiates changes in the victims’ personal property rights using secrecy and haste to effect those changes. Some signs that your elderly loved one could be experiencing financial abuse or exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Unusual banking activity
  • Legal documents signed by the elderly person at a time when they were incapable of writing
  • Missing cash or jewelry
  • The elderly individual unexpectedly purchasing unusual and/or expensive gifts
  • Long-lost friends or relatives unexpectedly and suddenly spending lots of time with the elder
  • Sudden changes to wills, trusts, or statements
  • Unpaid bills when a certain individual has been designated to pay the elderly’s bills and utilities
  • Suspicious looking signatures on checks
  • Certain family members expressing excessive interest in “saving” the money being spent on the elderly person’s care or medical expenses.

Financial Elder Abuse Through Coercion

Some ill-intentioned individuals work to build a relationship and gain the trust of vulnerable elderly people or dependent adults to coerce them into doing things, giving them money, or giving them access to certain information. Once gaining the elderly person’s trust, the individual will use their power of influence or physical control over the elderly person to force them into certain actions. In most coercion cases, the elderly person is being exploited financially. A senior citizen is more susceptible to financial abuse through coercion if:

  • The elder is socially or physically isolated.
  • The elder has diminished mental capacity like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • The elder has recently suffered the loss of a loved one, like a spouse.
  • The elder is incapable of or unfamiliar with handling their own finances and financial affairs.
  • The elder has family members who are experiencing financial trouble of their own.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

While elders and adult dependents often fall prey to ill-intentioned individuals and even family members hoping to exploit them financially, some elderly people are abused differently. Not all cases of elder abuse are limited to financial exploitation. Many elderly people or adult dependents are intentionally neglected, mistreated, and otherwise forced to suffer at the hands of their caretakers, family members, or other individuals. Some possible scenarios of physical and emotional elder abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Not feeding an elder who is incapable of feeding him/herself.
  • A caretaker ridiculing an elder for using a wheelchair.
  • Deliberately isolating an elder from other people, phone calls, and other forms of communication.
  • The use of physical or chemical restraints.
  • Causing fear through harassment, verbal abuse, threats, and intimidating behavior.
  • Refusing to provide proper sanitary and hygienic care.

Who Are the Common Perpetrators of Elder Abuse?

Unfortunately, the perpetrator in many elder abuse cases is either someone in or close to the family of the victim. The perpetrator may be an individual or group trusted by the elder or their family, such as a caretaker, health care professional, family friend, lawyer, financial advisor, insurance agent, or another individual who has access to the elder’s personal financial information, or who might be in a position to persuade them to make bad investments or unwise financial decisions. These individuals may seek to abuse an elder or dependent adult for many reasons, including, but not limited to the following:

  • They feel they are not adequately compensated for the care of the elderly person.
  • They fear their inheritance will all be used on the aging person’s medical expenses.
  • They feel that they deserve a different inheritance from the one the elder has planned.
  • They face personal financial struggles due to drinking, drugs, gambling, or poor money management habits.

Elder Abuse Scams

In some cases, the culprit is not someone close to the victim at all. Many elders who suffer from declining mental and cognitive abilities are vulnerable to being tricked or deceived through various scams by certain individuals looking to make money through deceit and deception. Certain perpetrators of elder abuse may use various tactics to methodically seek out vulnerable elderly individuals and gain their trust to take advantage of their finances. Some methods these scammers may employ could include:

  • Searching through obituaries to find elderly individuals who have recently lost a spouse or loved one.
  • Claiming to love the elderly individual to gain their trust and manipulate them.
  • Giving expensive or excessive gifts to the elderly person to gain their trust, or demanding expensive gifts and items be bought for them.
  • Isolating the elderly person from the family members.
  • Turning the elderly individual against their family members by making false claims and accusations about them to the elderly person as a means of gaining their sole trust.
  • Using a position of trust to take advantage of the elder, for example: selling them a faulty insurance product or another investment.
  • Using secretive and illegitimate business practices to deceive the elder.
  • Taking advantage of the elder’s lack of judgment to charge more than the reasonable value for certain products and services.

Types of Financial Elder Abuse

Financial elder abuse can take many forms. Examples of some common cases that McCunn Law in Granite Bay can successfully deal with include:

  • Loss of real estate
  • Loss of stocks, investments, or bank accounts
  • Intentional bad investment advice from a trusted investment professional
  • Mortgage loan fraud
  • Medical care or services fraud
  • Scams targeting the elderly: fake sweepstakes, fake lotteries, fake emails, or messages seeking money to bail a family member out of jail or other invented situations requiring immediate financial assistance, fake charities requesting large donations, repairman scams, telemarketing scams, utility scams, and more.

All types of elder abuse, including financial, physical, and emotional, are crimes punishable by California law under penal code 368 PC and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the nature and severity of the offense.

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused in one of these or other ways, you should contact a Granite Bay financial & elder abuse attorney right away to learn more about how you can protect your aging family member.

What Is a Conservatorship in California?

You can make sure that your elderly loved one is not susceptible to financial abuse by ensuring that you or another reasonable family member you trust becomes the court-appointed conservator of the elder’s estate. If your loved one begins showing signs of being unable to manage their finances safely, it may be a good idea to have a conservator appointed. That way, they are not at risk of fraud, scams, coercion, and undue influence. When appointing a conservator, preference is first given to the elderly person’s spouse, followed by a sibling or child.

Determining Responsibility for Elder Abuse

In an elder abuse case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted willfully and knowingly to cause the elderly person unjustified physical or mental pain, conducted behavior that endangered the life and health of the elderly individual, and that the defendant knew or should have known that the elderly individual was 65 years of age or older. Elder abuse cases can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the case and the extent of abuse caused and intended. To get a better understanding of how the perpetrator of your loved one’s abuse might be charged, schedule an appointment to talk to a financial & elder abuse lawyer.

Contacting Adult Protective Services in Granite Bay

If you suspect your loved one is facing abuse of any kind, contact an attorney right away. In addition to contacting a lawyer, reporting the suspected abuse to the state is also a good idea. This could prevent the abuse from escalating and resulting in worse or even dire consequences. Even if you are worried that you could be wrong in your assumptions, it is better to err on the side of caution when concerning potential matters of life and death. California Adult Protective Services is there to aid in these kinds of situations. To report suspected abuse, call this 833-401-0832 and enter your five-digit area code when prompted.

Contact a Financial & Elder Abuse Lawyer in Granite Bay

Financial & elder abuse can be a very serious matter and sadly affects many of our elderly loved ones right here in Granite Bay and across the greater US. If you fear that your elderly loved one may be subject to abuse by another family member, friend, or any other person, call our firm immediately. An experienced financial & elder abuse attorney can help you understand your loved one’s rights and begin building a case against the perpetrator. Contact McCunn Law in Granite Bay today and request a consultation or call us now at (916) 827-3427.

Why Choose McCunn Law

Our methods for handling business owner divorce and family law issues are unique. We offer legal assistance for a range of family law cases, including:

Mr. McCunn specializes in a holistic, project management approach which empowers you to make your own decisions throughout the process. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and his honest and pragmatic attitude towards divorce and other family law issues ensures you only pay for the services you need during your case.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.