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PHONE: 415-441-8669 | TOLL FREE: 888-50EVANS

Mar 26, 2024 by |

California and San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance


Lonely Widows and Widowers Are Vulnerable

Protect Your Children’s Inheritance in the Family House

Consider Life Estates

People generally want to leave their estates to their children when they die, particularly the family home or perhaps a vacation home where the family has some of its best memories.  While a couple is young and together this kind of plan is comfortably in place by trusts or Wills. As we age, though, things can change, particularly when one of the spouses dies. Many estate planners recommend leaving everything to the surviving spouse but we do not recommend this kind of estate plan if you want to preserve your estate for your children. Leaving everything to the surviving spouse means the widow or widower vulnerable to financial exploitation by girlfriends or boyfriends, new or younger spouses, caregivers or others who can arrange new estate plans to take everything when the survivor dies. In particular, there’s a repeating pattern of such persons getting their hands on a senior’s home after a spouse of many years passes away.  This kind of financial elder abuse can be devastating for the victim’s children. The San Francisco elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. see this pattern too often in our cases and know how disastrous financial elder abuse and theft from seniors can be, not only for the senior but also their children later, particularly when someone has designs on the senior’s home.  If you or someone you know is a victim of financial elder abuse regarding any kind of assets belonging to a senior here in San Francisco or elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, call us today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS

How An Estate Plan Can Go Wrong

A recurring pattern in financial elder abuse of surviving spouses goes something like this: a married couple buys a home and raises their children there.  The children grow up and leave home and the parents stay put.  The years go by and one day the husband or wife passes away.  The recommended estate plan has everything passing to the survivor. As time goes on, the survivor needs assistance so he or she hires a caregiver or finds a new spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend.  The senior grows increasingly dependent on that person especially if he or she is isolated from family and friends.  Dementia may set in.  The unscrupulous caregiver or new spouse begins to take over finances and sees the opportunity to lay hands on the senior’s home and money for themselves.  By the time the senior passes, the person may well have set it up so that the children are disinherited and the unscrupulous caregiver gets everything, including the family home.

Life Estates

This doesn’t have to happen, but it’s a very real risk when the estate plan leaves everything to a surviving spouse. That is why we recommend against that kind of plan if you want to ensure that your children are ultimately the beneficiaries of your entire estate.  Married couples should consider leaving a life estate in the family home (or other property like a cherished vacation home) for the surviving spouse, drawn so that on the death of the survivor the home and property pass to the couple’s children.[1]  The couple can create the life estate plan in a trust agreement while they both still have the capacity to act.  Often estate planners overlook this safeguard and recommend joint ownership or that the surviving spouse takes everything outright by operation of a Will or Trust.  Either way, these arrangements leave the family home in the survivor’s name alone and vulnerable to exploitation by caregivers and others after the first spouse dies.

Contact Us

If you have already been the victim of any kind of financial elder abuse, we can help. Our lawyers handle elder abuse cases of all varieties and know the remedies, extra damages, and awards of attorneys’ fees and costs to which you or your victimized loved ones are entitled.  We fight for seniors every day.  If you or a loved one been the victim of elder abuse in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Evans Law Firm elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=””></a>. We can help guide your case through investigation, discovery, through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement.  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.

[1] Trusts and life estates have tax consequences.  Check with your tax advisor regarding the current federal and State estate and gift exclusions. We do not provide tax advice at Evans Law Firm and always recommend you consult your tax advisor when considering any estate plan.

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"I contacted Attorney Ingrid Evans for advice about a financial elder abuse case. She was extremely knowledgeable, bright and informative. I highly recommend her. I am an attorney myself, and know when I am talking to a another excellent attorney."
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