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Elder Financial Abuse | Awarding Damages

Elder Financial Abuse | Awarding DamagesElder financial abuse is a threat to seniors across California - and not only to seniors themselves, but also to their families and communities. When a wrongdoer steals money or hijacks estate and trust assets from an elderly victim, the heartbreak can be tremendous. Victims and their loved ones ask themselves, "What can we do to fight back?"

I've seen it time and again in cases I've represented. Sometimes a caretaker will take advantage of an elder and gain access to their bank account. They'll go on shopping sprees and buy jewelry and a new car with the elder's cash. Maybe a trustee decides to prioritize their own wishes over the well-being of the elder and the inheritance rights of beneficiaries. Or a family member with substance abuse problems isolates their ailing elderly parent and takes them to a new attorney to change estate documents in their favor. Suddenly, they own the family home and are primary beneficiary of a new trust while other siblings are frozen out. This may have happened to you.

There are ways to fight back. Recently updated California law comes down hard on elder financial abuse and allows for plaintiffs hold wrongdoers accountable in civil court. Our state's Welfare & Institutions Code arranges for jury trial of elder financial abuse claims and the awarding of damages to the victim. The law reads:

"Where it is proven by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is liable for financial abuse, as defined in Section 15610.30, in addition to compensatory damages and all other remedies otherwise provided by law, the court shall award to the plaintiff reasonable attorney's fees and costs..."

Back when I was a young lawyer some 30 years ago, I came across a case of elder financial abuse in my very own family. I thought the police and standard legal work could handle it, but I was wrong, and the pain and loss from this tragedy were very real. Thankfully, California law has adapted to meet the threat of elder financial abuse, and decades later I represent victims and estate and trust beneficiaries in elder financial abuse litigation across the state. At Hackard Law we work to protect client interests and hold wrongdoers to account in substantial cases, whether in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda, Santa Clara, or San Diego. Call us today at 916-313-3030. We want to listen to your story.

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