One type of elder financial abuse under California Welfare and Institutions Code section 15600 involves the concept of “undue influence.”

A person or entity that takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, if shown that person or entity knew or should have known that the conduct at issue was likely to have been harmful to the elder or dependent adult, has committed elder financial abuse.

Definition of Undue Influence Under California Law

Undue influence means excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity.

In determining whether a result was produced by undue influence, all of the following shall be considered:

   (1) The vulnerability of the victim. Evidence of vulnerability may include, but is not limited to, incapacity, illness, disability, injury, age, education, impaired cognitive function, emotional distress, isolation, or dependency, and whether the influencer knew or should have known of the alleged victim’s vulnerability.

   (2) The influencer’s apparent authority. Evidence of apparent authority may include, but is not limited to, status as a fiduciary, family member, care provider, health care professional, legal professional, spiritual adviser, expert, or other qualification.

   (3) The actions or tactics used by the influencer. Evidence of actions or tactics used may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

   (A) Controlling necessaries of life, medication, the victim’s interactions with others, access to information, or sleep.

   (B) Use of affection, intimidation, or coercion.

   (C) Initiation of changes in personal or property rights, use of haste or secrecy in effecting those changes, effecting changes at inappropriate times and places, and claims of expert is in effecting changes.

   (4) The equity of the result. Evidence of the equity of the result may include, but is not limited to, the economic consequences to the victim, any divergence from the victim’s prior intent or course of conduct or dealing, the relationship of the value conveyed to the value of any services or consideration received, or the appropriateness of the change in light of the length and nature of the relationship.

However, evidence of an inequitable result, without more, is insufficient to prove undue influence.

Contact An Elder Financial Abuse Attorney At The Dolan Law Firm

California law protects elders, dependent adults, and developmentally disabled persons from many types of abuse and neglect, including financial fraud and undue influence. The law provides provides for the recovery of damages for pain and suffering, economic damages, and punitive damages when there has been recklessness, fraud and/or patient abandonment.

Take action and contact us without delay.  The Dolan Law Firm is one the leading injury and elder abuse law firms in California. We represent seniors and families who loved ones were victimized by financial elder abuse.  We represent clients from San Francisco, Oakland, Marin, the entireBay Area and across California.  Please click here to contact us or call us toll free at 1-888-452-4752.