Palo Alto Elder Abuse Litigation Firm Stands Up for Your Loved One

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse can encompass a broad range of wrongful, deceitful, neglectful or abusive behaviors directed toward elders (anyone aged 65 or older). Elder abuse can happen to any senior, anywhere, regardless of race, economic wealth or background.

At Chiles and Prochnow, we address claims of financial abuse of elders.  An elder who has been defrauded may be embarrassed, angry or in denial. While we are forceful advocates in court, we offer understanding, advice and counsel to an elder.

What are the signs of elder abuse, including financial abuse?

When an elder has been abused physically, the signs are usually obvious.  However, when the abuse is emotional or financial, the signs can be much more difficult to identify. While not exhaustive, indicators include:

  • Unusual banking activity
  • An elder who states that he or she has to make a “down payment” to receive an inheritance or reward from an unknown relative or other source
  • Sudden difficulty in paying bills or providing for necessities
  • Abrupt changes in estate planning through a will or trust
  • An elder talking about winning a contest that he or she does not remember entering
  • Sudden transfer of assets
  • A caregiver who is more interested in the elder’s finances than his or her physical or mental health
  • Frequent unexplained trips to Western Union, the bank or other wire transfer services
  • A new “friend” or romantic interest who may be significantly younger than the elder
  • A caregiver who prevents the elder from seeing other loved ones or friends

Remedies for financial abuse of an elder in California

While it is always best to prevent elder abuse before it happens, sometimes it is not possible or practical.  The California legislature has recognized elder abuse as a major problem. It has enacted statutes that encourage legal actions that permit victims and their heirs to recover additional damages under certain circumstances. The remedies can include:

  • If the abuser was an heir (i.e., a person expected to inherit by will or succession), he or she may be disinherited.
  • Lost property, including real estate and personal belongings, may be restored.
  • Enhanced damages may be available.
  • A constructive trust may be imposed on property improperly transferred from the elder.
  • Attorneys’ fees may be awarded.

Keep in mind that because someone with a close relationship with the elder often perpetrates the abuse, even extremely knowledgeable, well-informed individuals may fall victim to undue influence from a trusted friend or family member.

Let us assist you

At Chiles and Prochnow, we assist victims of elder abuse. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us at 650-812-0400 or online. Our Palo Alto office is conveniently located near all major routes on the San Francisco Peninsula.