Elder abuse cases are situations that are far too common in the courthouse, especially if they are incapacitated with mental and physical illnesses. These senior adults, through loneliness and adults, are at-risk individuals for manipulation from others when large capital assets and bank accounts are involved. The issue has only grown in recent years as the highly populated “Baby Boomers” have transitioned into retirement, increasing the opportunities for predators to attempt fraud and other illegal actions through the “consent” of the elderly.
Family members, friends, neighbors and others involved in the lives of older people taken advantage of by undue influence should look for telling signs that abuse is occurring. The Legacy Lawyers are your top-choice attorneys for protecting the financial and personal interests of your loved one, stopping manipulation where it begins and bringing justice to offenders.
What is Undue Influence
Undue influence, as described by the California Welfare and Institutions Code, is when someone uses excessive and unwanted persuasion to violate someone else’s free will, forcing them to act or refrain from acting. In the case of elders, they are left in particularly vulnerable positions, whether that be from mental or physical illness, that make them open targets for law breakers to go after. Oftentimes, seniors make decisions that are detrimental and destructive to their financial futures while the influencer profits.
When a state or federal court is making a decision for whether an elder was caught under the undue influence of another person, the victim’s vulnerability will always be taken into account. These are measured by key factors such as age, sickness, isolation, injury and financial dependence. In addition, judges consider the influencer’s position in relation to the victim, whether they had roles of authority over them as a healthcare provider, fiduciary or caregiver. Depending upon the influencer’s relationship to the victim, it begs the question of if they knew or should have known about the victim’s vulnerabilities, which the court will consider in a hearing.
Signs of Undue Influence
Elderly undue influence can occur unchecked if family members, friends, neighbors and others involved in their lives are not diligent to spot it early on. This task is very challenging if the influencer is someone trusted by the senior and their surrounding social circles, which none would expect to harm them and perpetuates elder abuse. Sadly, the close relationship between influencer and elder as well as their integrity pale in comparison for perpetrators to the prospect of altering a will for a massive payday.
For any concerned party to ensure the safety of a senior adult they care about, the following signs should be observed to determine whether undue influence has occurred:
- An increased and unusual dependence on the influencer for will and estate management
- The influencer is creating more opportunities for the elder to be isolated and relocated
- A series of financial transactions that the victim does not recall or cannot explain
- The will or estate plan was changed during a period when the elder was incapacitated with mental or physical illness
- Decisions were made by the elder that create a conflict of interests, which cause benefit to the influencer and detriment to themselves
If these and any other signs of undue influence have occurred, you may have legal grounds to challenge the elder’s will and present the case to a courthouse.
We Stop Influencers in Their Tracks
At The Legacy Lawyers, our professional team of attorneys and lawyers have experience sniffing out the stinky trail of manipulation and coercion left by influencers and stopping them dead in their tracks. We do this by gathering concrete evidence on your behalf and construct arguments that win the approval of judges and your senior’s freedom. The first step to solving complex cases of undue influence is to contact our firm for a consultation where we can hear your situation in its entirety and offer the best solution. Call us today at 800.840.1998 or fill out our online contact form.