Financial Elder Abuse
Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.07 delineates three types of elder abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Deprivation of goods or services by a care custodian, and
- Financial abuse
The most commonly dealt with version in a probate proceeding is financial elder abuse.
Financial elder abuse is defined by the legislature through Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30. Financial elder abuse can occur in one of three ways. Either the bad actor:
- Takes property from an elder for a wrongful use, or with intent to defraud
- Assists someone else in taking property from an elder for a wrongful use, or with intent to defraud, or
- Takes property from an elder by employing undue influence as defined by Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.70 (and previously discussed here)
Of note: you do not have to be the beneficiary of the elder abuse to be sued for it, instead, you can be held liable for merely assisting in the taking.
Additionally, the code explicitly states that if the taking of property is actually getting the elder to change their testamentary instruments, that is still considered financial elder abuse and therefore that person can be held liable under this statute.
As a result, there can be, and often are times when it would be appropriate to file a civil claim and a probate claim regarding the same activity.