This weekend I was a presenter at San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu's Family Wealth Workshop. The title of my presentation was "Protecting Against Elder Financial Abuse." I was able to share stories with the community and they in turn shared stories with me. I find this the most gratifying part of these events.
Estate sales can be an emotionally wrenching, but sometimes necessary, step in moving forward after a loved one's passing. It's an unfortunate reality, however, that estate liquidation is also an opportunity for fraud and even elder financial abuse by wrongdoers.
What options does a beneficiary have against a bad trustee? Let's say a trustee is abusing their position and not distributing funds to the beneficiary. Maybe they've frozen them out of the trust completely and are using other people's money to enrich themselves: trips to Hawaii, new cars, the whole nine yards. I've seen it before.
Focus groups in estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation are a valuable tool in determining community attitudes to undue influence and financial abuse cases.Participant selection, presentation venue and moderator approaches all play a part in this important process of community discernment.
He was one of the greatest spy fiction writers of our era, and his movies and characters will certainly live on for decades, but for all his brilliance as a novelist, Tom Clancy was not good at plotting a satisfying end to his own estate.
Several years ago, in my second decade of practicing law, I learned a lot about estate disasters. My mother's aunt had substantial financial resources - resources saved and invested over the many decades of her life. She and her now-deceased husband had saved for old age - for security in their retirement years. She owned her own San Francisco home, had a secure pension and a large stock portfolio. Then, in her early 90s, she had a caregiver to assist her at a time of her decreased mobility, limited hearing, other sensory deficits and lost driving privileges.
The world lost a great talent last month when Aretha Franklin, known as "The Queen of Soul" passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. In a remarkable career that spanned nearly 6 decades, Franklin was acclaimed for her hit songs, "Chain of Fools," "A Natural Woman," and "Respect."
California law provides that punitive damages may be recovered when the defendant is guilty of oppression, fraud or malice. Since the code section uses the word "or," the allegations need only establish one type of conduct.