The Problem of Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is one of the fastest growing crimes of our day. The National Council on Aging has labeled financial elder abuse as “the crime of the 21st century” with victims losing a collective $2.6 billion annually throughout the nation. Unfortunately, that number only reflects the reported losses, which are likely a fraction of the damage actually occurring.
The reasons for this growing prevalence of elder financial abuse are complex. One likely significant factor is that the aging Baby Boomer generation will amass the largest concentration of assets in this country’s history. This concentration of assets entices those who seek to take advantage of others rather than work hard for themselves. Abusers range from companies and institutions to neighbors and family members hoping to profit from a vulnerable demographic.
Huber Fox as Part of the Solution to Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse has both criminal and civil implications. Here at the Huber Fox, we use civil litigation to recoup the assets taken from the elder and hold the abuser accountable with additional penalties.
With the rise of elder financial abuse, the law has become more aggressive with higher penalties against financial abusers. In certain cases the law requires the abuser pay back three times the amount taken, and in other cases the abuser is required to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees. The law also protects “dependent adults” who are the victims of financial abuse. A dependent adult is defined as any California resident between the age of 18 and 64 who has a physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities, or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age.
Quite often, family members or friends don’t find out about the abuse until the loved one has died, but that doesn’t stop us from holding abusers accountable and bringing justice to the victims and their families. Financial abuse claims can be brought even after the elder or dependent adult has passed away. Abusers are not off the hook simply because the victim has passed on.
So if you or a loved one is in need of protection or if you sadly discover the elder or dependent was financially abused during their life, do not hesitate to contact the Huber Fox and help us be part of the solution to this growing problem.
Notable Case Results
The Huber Fox’s Financial Elder Abuse practice enjoys a reputation for obtaining strong results. Some examples of our recent elder abuse cases include the following:
• Represented a beneficiary in recouping real property she was to receive as provided in her grandmother’s will. After many years of suffering from dementia and residing at a dementia facility, the beneficiary’s grandmother “gifted” the property to the abuser, who then sold the property. On the eve of trial, Huber Fox settled the matter for well over twice the value of the property which had been taken.
• Represented an elder through her attorney-in-fact to successfully recover title to a home the elder supposedly “gifted” to neighbors she had known less than two years.
• Represented an elder in recovering title to her home after she had been persuaded to sign it over to her neighbor in exchange for his promise to help her out around the house.
• Represented beneficiaries in recovering real property, a significant investment account, and additional funds taken by their siblings from a parent who suffered from advanced dementia.