Legislation Effective January 1, 2023
Additional Protections For Senior Citizens
The attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. fight for the rights of individuals, especially the elderly, against unfair or illegal treatment and exploitation by others. Based on our experience we know firsthand that all seniors, male or female, rich or poor, single or married, straight or LGBTQIA+, are potential victims of all forms of elder abuse and neglect, including financial elder abuse. As advocates for seniors, we closely watch developments in the law and legislation that will expand protections for the elderly from abusers. Two new laws came into effect January 1 that we want you to be aware of – an expansion of elder restraining order protections and an expansion of what constitutes financial elder abuse to include debts of the senior. If you suspect elder abuse of any kind, including financial elder abuse, call the elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267).
New Law Overview
Two new senior protections effective January 1 both arose from California AB 1243. AB 1243 made two principal changes to elder protections:
First, a judge may issue an anti-isolation restraining order. To do so, the judge must find: (1) the respondent’s past act or acts of isolation of the elder repeatedly prevented contact with the interested party; (2) the elder expressly desires contact with the interested party; and (3) the respondent’s isolation of the elder from the interested party was not in response to an actual or threatened abuse of the elder by the interested party or the elder’s desire not to have contact with the interested party.
Second, a judge may find that one or more “specific debts” were incurred as the result of financial elder abuse of the elder or dependent adult.
We discuss each change in more detail below.
AB 1243 takes a broad view of who is an “interested party” eligible to seek an anti-isolation restraining order. An “interested party” means an individual with a “personal, preexisting relationship with the elder.” This may be shown by a description of past involvement with the elder, time spent together, and any other proof that the individual spent time with the elder. Hence, a friend or neighbor may have standing to seek an anti-isolation order.
In a nutshell, the interested party must file a petition using California Judicial Council Form EA-100. (The updated form should be available on or soon after January 1, 2023.) Petitions are ordinarily acted upon quickly by the Court. There is one important exception to the anti-isolation protection: orders may not be sought when the elder resides in a health, residential or long-term care facility.
“Specific Debts” Were the Result of Financial Elder Abuse
AB 1243’s second component allows a court to review “specific debts” incurred by the elder or dependent adult to determine if they were the product of financial elder abuse. Example: Daughter uses Mother’s credit card to purchase expensive items on Amazon for Daughter’s personal use and without Mother’s authorization. A finding that a specific debt was the result of financial elder abuse does not entitle the elder to any remedies, such as damages, not expressly included in section 15657.03. Instead, an elder (either directly or through authorized representatives) who wants damages from the respondent will need to bring financial elder abuse claims under other provisions of the Elder Abuse Act. Such claims will proceed to hearing, including a possible jury trial, on a much slower track.
Protective Trend Continues
AB 1243 continues the Legislature’s expansion of the Elder Abuse Act, more formally known as the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, since its adoption in 1982. Requests for elder abuse restraining orders are likely to increase as the new remedies become available and more widely known.
Ingrid M. Evans represents seniors throughout California against any individuals or business who abuse them or financially exploit them. If you need help, call Ingrid and our other attorneys today at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.