Elder LawUnder California law, an elder abuse case can be civil or criminal. Our office can assist you with civil matters and point you in the right direction with respect to reporting your criminal matters.
Elders are defined as persons 65 years and older in California.
Pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610, civil elder abuse includes physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other abuse that results in physical harm or mental suffering. Elder abuse can also occur when a care custodian deprives an elderly person of goods or services that are necessary to prevent the physical or mental harm of the elderly person.
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is a nationwide epidemic. An estimated one in five elderly persons has been subject to financial elder abuse, but as few as one in forty-four cases is reported. In addition, it is estimated that approximately $18 trillion is in the hands of persons who are 65 and older.
All of this makes elderly persons a target for family members, caretakers, and others. Guardians, conservators, and caretakers may also find opportunities to take advantage of the elderly person they are caring for, even taking estate and trust assets.
The opportunity of abuse by guardians and conservators is so prominent that Congress passed S.178 (the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act), and this was signed into law by the president.
If you are concerned that a family member or loved one is a victim of financial elder abuse, it is important to get them help as soon as possible. Failure to get a victim of financial elder abuse can result in depletion of their assets, inability to access medical care, and isolation of the elderly person, among other things.
There are ways to get an elderly person who is a victim of financial elder abuse help. There are ways to safeguard the estates, trusts, and assets of your family members and loved ones.
About Financial Elder Abuse
- Financial elder abuse occurs when an individual or entity takes or uses without authorization the financial resources and assets of an elderly individual often through fraud or bad faith conduct.
- Financial elder abuse can be both a civil and a criminal offense.
- Those committing financial elder abuse can be family members, caregivers, insurance companies, nursing homes, professionals, and others.
- Oftentimes victims of financial elder abuse are isolated by the ones committing the financial elder abuse, which raises a variety of physical and mental health concerns for the victim in addition to the financial concerns.
We assist family members who believe that their loved one is the victim of elder abuse. We understand how concerning and serious these incidents can be, and we zealously advocate for our clients and their loved ones.
This can be a challenging and often emotional process. If you are the proposed conservator, someone may challenge you. If you are the proposed conservatee, you may need help challenging the petition for conservatorship.
The attorneys at Mendes Law, PC can help you navigate the complexities of the law, and give you the support you need throughout this process. We care about the well-being of our clients and their families, and we advocate zealously for our clients.
The conservatorship process starts with the filing of a petition in probate court. After the petition is filed, you will know your court date, and a court investigator will be assigned to your case.
If the court grants the petition for conservatorship, a letter of conservatorship will be issued to appoint the conservator. Sometimes, a bond will need to be filed, and we can assist you through this process as well.
The conservator thereafter has certain duties she must fulfill, including making certain filings and/or reporting to the court and attending training. Once the conservatorship is granted, it is still subject to challenge by the conservatee.
This process can be very overwhelming, but the attorneys at Mendes Weed, LLP are well-versed in this area of law and can help you prepare and navigate this challenging process.
Elder Abuse Restraining Orders
If you believe there is a risk that someone is facing imminent danger, call 911. You can request an elder abuse or dependent adult restraining order.
You qualify for an elder abuse restraining order if you are 65 or older (or a dependent adult) and you have been physically, financially, mentally, or emotionally abused, neglected, abandoned or abducted, isolated, or deprived of necessities by a caregiver.
If you qualify, and if you believe you, or a loved one, needs an elder abuse restraining order, an attorney can assist you in obtaining one.
You will need to prepare, file, and serve your pleadings. Your lawyer can appear at the hearing with you if you would like. After your hearing, you will need to properly serve the order on the restrained person and complete a confidential CLETS information form.
Some of the processes can be confusing and stressful, but your lawyer can make it easier for you. It is important to protect yourself, or your loved one, from further harm, and obtaining an elder abuse restraining order can be an important step in that process.
How can you recognize physical abuse?
- If you notice bruises, broken bones, bedsores, malnutrition, or other physical injuries, it may be an indication that an elderly person is subject to physical abuse.
- If you notice that an elderly person becomes fearful, withdrawn, socially isolated, anxious, confused, easily agitated, or seems to have a sudden personality change, this could also be evidence of abuse.
- There are numerous other factors that could evidence someone is subject to abuse, and it is important to be mindful and watchful of your elderly family member or friend.
- If you believe an elderly person is at risk of immediate harm, call 911.
- If you suspect elder abuse, you should know how to report it, especially if you are one of certain specified mandated reporters.
- If you have questions, it is important to meet with an attorney who can advise you. There are additional steps you can take to protect your loved ones. It may be necessary to get the court involved. While this can be time-consuming, and sometimes costly, the value you will receive is knowing that you are protecting your loved one from further abuse.
In the event you are successful in court, you may be able to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to defend your loved one. The wrongdoer may even be subject to enhanced damages provisions.
While some of the laws behind elder abuse are complicated, our attorney’s can assist you throughout the entire process and hopefully put you at ease with respect to what to expect during the process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
California State and County Elder Abuse Resources
Walnut Creek Office
1990 N. California Blvd.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596