Elder abuse has become a more prominent issue in the United States. As the World War II and Baby Boomer generations age, the American population boasts more senior citizens than ever. These seniors are driving up the demand for estate planning services, healthcare services, assisted living facilities, and in-home care. Unfortunately, reliance on these service providers can also expose a senior citizen to the risk of abuse.
If you believe a loved one was victimized by physical, emotional, or financial elder abuse, contact the skilled elder abuse attorneys at Hackard Law as soon as possible. Their experience can help concerned family members and friends explore all possible options to determine the best method of protecting elderly lov[...]
When the term “elder abuse” comes up, many people think of egregious instances of physical or sexual abuse. But many other types of elder abuse can seriously harm some of California’s most vulnerable residents.
Financial abuse, for example, is also a serious problem that greatly harms elderly Californians. By learning about the risk factors of financial abuse and how to respond to it, you can protect your elderly loved ones from financial harm. A Santa Clara estate attorney can help you determine whether your loved ones fell victim to financial abuse, and what legal option will best enable you to protect them.
The Scope of the Problem
According to The Acorn, the current population of Americans ages 75 or older is one of the w[...]
California has incorporated scientific knowledge into statutes defining undue influence and financial exploitation of elders. These legislative efforts culminated back in 2014 with the effective application of the new California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. These statutes provide a powerful remedy against undue influence, including instances of deathbed transfers.
Undue influence is defined by California Probate Code Section 15610.70 as “excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity.” It includes four elements:
Vulnerability of the victim
Apparent authority of the influencer
Elder financial abuse and exploitation make for a silent epidemic of crime across America, and the phenomenon is only growing in scale. According to research conducted the watchdog National Adult Protective Services Association, one in twenty seniors have reported elder financial abuse in the recent past. And the damage to our national economy from elder financial abuse is estimated at anywhere from $3 billion to $36 billion per year, a figure that can only cause alarm. As the population of senior citizens in our country continues to grow, so too will the challenge posed by fraudsters who want to prey on our elderly and steal their money.
To help seniors and their loved ones identify and avoid scams, we’ve compiled a list of the most c[...]
Respect for elders is a basic foundation of many cultures and religions. Its neglect or absence is traumatic and disheartening to both societies and families.
No doubt, aging brains bring many challenges to elders, their families, and caregivers.
Responding to the challenges can be awkward. Functional decline, dementia, and depression can make communication difficult. They can also make abuse, neglect and financial exploitation more likely.
I share these thoughts from experience in representing elders and their families who’ve suffered financial elder abuse. Sometimes it’s too late for us to do something about it. Sometimes we catch it just in time.
Whether the wrongful act is done, in process, or not yet started, we need to[...]
Language is powerful. It can ignite wars. It can heal wounds. It can hide harm. It can redeem wrongs. And, it can save lives.
That’s what I want to talk about today. Women, 65 and older, outnumber men of the same age.
Almost half of older women, age 75 and over, live alone. They are a target class for elder financial exploitation – for financial elder abuse.
Lawmakers, law enforcement, news organizations and educational institutions are increasingly taking measures to inform us of the multiple ways that seniors are scammed. Family members, neighbors, adult protective services and other professionals can all assist in protecting older women, this targeted class.
We all have a dog in this fight. I wrote The Wolf at the Door: U[...]
We invest elder caregivers with a remarkable amount of power. With power comes responsibility.
So, it’s troubling, even tragic, when this responsibility is abused. And, elder abuse, including elder financial abuse, is magnified when marriage is used for financial exploitation. I’ll share a couple stories - stories drawn from real cases – but changed in part to preserve privacy.
So, let’s start with Roger, an 82-year-old retired teacher. Roger was single for 81 years. Roger’s closest family members are his two sisters, Mary and Molly. They are named as equal beneficiaries in Roger’s 2014 trust.
A few years later, 2016, Roger was diagnosed with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Roger’s failing memory, impaired mobility, and[...]
Should a paid caregiver inherit 4 million dollars? This story starts off normally enough. A caregiver is hired to care for a 94-year-old woman who is nearly blind. So far, so good.
But just five months in, something extraordinary and suspicious happens. The caregiver is named as the elderly woman’s sole beneficiary, trustee, executor, attorney-in-fact and health care agent.
We’ll call the elder Caroline. And, we’ll call the caregiver Lotto, as in a game of chance. You’ll see how Lotto increased her chances for a jackpot, Caroline’s estate.
Caroline’s twenty-year-old trust was changed shortly before her death. The change wiped out Caroline’s long held plans to benefit her life partner, sister and a niece. Caroline had long b[...]
“To my family I leave nothing.” I wince at the words. I represent family members in estate battles. We focus on elder financial abuse, will contests and trust beneficiary abuse cases. And, I hear words like this all the time.
It’s one thing to hear them, another to feel them. My clients feel them. Hurt, devastation, and surprise are just some of the feelings. The quest for justice comes a little later.
Like in this case: I’ll call her Pam. Pam calls me. She shares her mother’s handwritten will. She also shares the story about the will. Sally, Pam’s elderly mother, penned the words in 2016.
Sally was not well. She was forgetful. Pam says her mom’s voice often drifted off in midsentence. And, Sally was isolated. Isolated from[...]
The battle against elder financial abuse in America starts with our own families, but it requires a much broader base. The combined efforts of our communities, public and private institutions, and law enforcement all play an essential role in a fight that will only intensify in the coming decades.
There are now 50 million Americans over the age of 65. Ten thousand baby boomers reach 65 each day. This age group is also a target class for predators and swindlers whose actions are often covered in silence. A 2016 study from the AARP’s Public Policy Institute revealed that one in five older Americans are victims of financial exploitation each year.
Some elders are particularly vulnerable to financial pillage. An estimated 5.8 million Am[...]