Government Taking a Stance on Financial Elder Abuse in California

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This year, the Californian government has taken some impressive strides in passing bills which hold people accountable for committing financial elder abuse, and provide financial aid to elders who have suffered such abuse.
Elder abuse in California has become a pressing issue as the state’s population ages — California has one of the largest populations of older Americans in the USA. This fall, Governor Jerry Brown has signed several bills which contribute to aiding elder financial abuse victims, and prosecuting those responsible. The new developments in elder law include:

  • Assembly Bill 381  will allow courts to award attorney’s fees and costs to victims of financial elder abuse in California. Previously, seniors were only rewarded twice the determined damages of their case – meaning the cost of litigation fees were often more than the victim received. Now, any senior who has been victimized by someone using a power of attorney will have their court costs covered.
  • Assembly Bill 140  creates a new definition for elder financial abuse — one which recognizes contemporary research concerning undue influence (ie. when a caretaker persuades a senior to change a will in his/her favour). The bill incites elder law courts to consider whether a senior has been influenced unfairly, and provides evaluation criteria to determine fault.
  • Assembly Bill 477 has made notaries public mandated reporters of financial elder abuse. Explains Assemblymember Ed Chau, who authored the bill, “Requiring notaries public to be mandated reporters will help prevent elderly victims from being robbed of their lifetime savings, property, or securities. As notaries oversee important transactions regarding wills, estates and other facets of elder law, this bill should encourage financial abuse to be detected from the beginning.

The elder abuse lawyers at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby are pleased to see government involvement in preventing financial elder abuse in California. Our California office offers free case reviews and understanding, dedicated service to those in need of elder abuse lawyers.