What is Financial Elder Abuse?
California Welfare and Institutions Code defines an Elder as 65 and over. Financial Elder Abuse occurs when someone takes or obtains property of an elder for a wrongful use or with the intent to defraud.
What do I do if I suspect Financial Elder Abuse?
Action must be taken immediately to rectify the situation. If the person is still living, we can establish a new Estate Plan, revoke prior Powers of Attorney, file for a Conservatorship, or sue the abuser. When suing the abuser we can even ask the Court to award double damages.
What is the general process to pursue a Financial Elder Abuse claim?
After a consultation, we will attempt to resolve the allegations informally. This is done through letters and possibly private mediation. If this tactic does not work, we will then file a petition with the Court. Upon filing a petition, the abuser will receive notice that there is a pending action and must defend themselves. After filing the petition, a process called Discovery begins. Discovery is a process where we can obtain various information such as bank records, attorneys' files, and medical records. Through Discovery we can also sit people down for Depositions. A Deposition is where the Deponent (the person being asked questions) must, under penalty of perjury, sit before the attorneys, clients, and a Court reporter and answer questions. We can then use their answers to conduct further Discovery. Upon the conclusion of discover, a Judge will set the case for a Mandatory Settlement Conference. This is a mediation to attempt to settle the case before trial. If the Mandatory Settlement Conference fails, the case will go to trial and the Judge will issue a ruling.