Elder Financial Abuse
Adults over the age of 65 and dependent adults between the ages of 18 and 64 are among the most defenseless in our society, and they deserve protection. When you or a friend or family member has been harmed financially by someone, especially if you were victimized by a caregiver in a position of trust, you need a personal injury lawyer who will champion your rights and aggressively pursue what you have lost. San Francisco elder financial abuse lawyer Michael S. Biggs fights for elderly residents of Northern California against predators who try to exploit them. He is fearless and confident in advocating for ordinary people who have been oppressed physically, emotionally, or financially, and the office is conveniently located in Walnut Creek.The Devastation Caused by Elder Financial Abuse
Elder financial abuse occurs when a person or a company takes the property of an elderly or dependent adult for an improper purpose, with an intent to defraud, or both. A person is deemed by California law to act with fraudulent intent (bad faith) if the person knew or should have known that the victim was entitled to own or access the property that was taken. Also, a person or business has committed elder financial abuse if they withhold property from the conservator or guardian of an elderly victim. Depending on the value of the property, elder financial abuse can be criminally prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. The felony conviction carries with it one "strike" under the California "three strikes law" as well. In some cases, financial abuse is connected to physical or emotional abuse.
Elder financial abuse can also occur at the hands of a trustee who breaches their fiduciary duty to an elderly or dependent beneficiary of a trust through undue influence or misappropriation of assets. As a trust litigation lawyer, Michael S. Biggs can help you take action to right this type of wrong as well. Retaining an elder financial abuse attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area is a critical step to take to pursue the damages that you deserve and ensure that justice is done.Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse
When a person approaches retirement age, they are likely to own a home, personal property, and other assets, such as life insurance and pension accounts. As that retired person ages, often they will lose the support of family members, due to the death of a spouse and other relatives. The retiree may lose the ability to perform everyday tasks and need more care and protection. This vulnerability can go unnoticed until it is too late. Tragically, the perpetrators of elder financial abuse are frequently people who are respected or loved by the victim.
Beware of relatives who have unlimited access to the assets of an elderly person. If that relative suddenly makes a large purchase or begins living a lifestyle beyond their budget, it may be time to make an investigation. Likewise, reports from a conservator or trustee should be examined regularly for accuracy. If the elderly person lives alone and craves companionship, watch out for strangers who may befriend the victim in order to gain their trust and access to accounts and property. Other financial abusers may prey on a senior's mental or physical frailty.
Diminishing mental clarity means that many elderly people are easily overwhelmed when it comes to financial matters and technology. They can fall victim when seeking help with paying bills, financing purchases, or even using a computer or phone. Family and friends of the elderly person need to be vigilant to guard against scammers waiting to take advantage of a trusting senior. Also, the loss of physical ability means that the elderly are often defenseless when it comes to "home improvement" swindlers, who play on their fears and either overcharge for home repairs or take payment without ever performing the work.Contact a Vigorous Elder Financial Abuse Lawyer in San Francisco or Surrounding Counties
The golden years of life are meant to be a time to enjoy family and friends, as well as favorite hobbies or pastimes. It is unforgivable when someone whom an elderly person trusts betrays them and exploits them for their own gain. If this has happened to a loved one, you should help them assert their rights. The first step to take, once you are sure that they are safe, is to consult a San Francisco elder financial abuse attorney who can bring a claim on your behalf. Michael S. Biggs is here to help aging individuals and their families throughout San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano Counties. He also is available for people who need a nursing home negligence lawyer or assistance with other personal injury cases involving elderly or dependent victims. Call us at 925.933.1300 or contact us online for an appointment.