Stopping Others From Changing An Elder’s Estate Plan
Cognitive Impairment Of Settlor
Process For Obtaining Restraining Orders
A all too frequent fact pattern of financial elder abuse runs something like this: a new “friend” of an older person, or a caregiver, trustee, stepchild, or second spouse takes unfair advantage of the older person to arrange an estate plan benefitting themselves and cutting out the older person’s family. This fact patterns occurs most frequently in cases where the older person is alone, suffering from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia and has lost the ability to manage hir or her own financial affairs, or understand the consequences of what some person with undue influence over them (like a caregiver or trustee) is getting them to sign. California recently expanded the ways in which a family can stop “friends”, caregivers, trustees, second spouses, stepchildren and others from changing a senior’s estate plan by use of a restraining order. These new developments and the procedures for obtaining restraining orders are discussed below. Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents families of seniors who have been manipulated by caregivers, trustees, or others to change their estate plan to benefit themselves and disinherit family. Call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Using A Restraining Order To Protect A Senior’s Estate Plan
In a 2022 case, the California Court of Appeal upheld the use of an elder abuse restraining order to preclude an individual from making or facilitating any change to the estate plan of her 94-year-old stepfather. The 94-year-old man and his first wife created a trust in 1988 to benefit their three daughters. The man remarried in 2007; his estate at the time was valued at over $40 million. The second wife had two daughters from a prior relationship. By 2013, the man had significant cognitive impairment that left him susceptible to undue influence by those close to him. The second wife allegedly interfered with the man’s lengthy professional relationship with his attorney and blocked him from communicating with his daughters and removed their photographs from the house. In April 2020, the man’s biological daughter as trustee of the man’s original trust sought an elder abuse restraining order against the second spouse, stepdaughter, and their attorney, and several others based on a purported trust amendment dated January 2020 in which the man disinherited his biological daughters in favor of his second wife and her daughters. The stepdaughter appealed. The appellate court rejected her argument that the 2020 estate planning change did not amount to financial elder abuse because she did not take anything from the man and instead supposedly helped him achieve his own estate planning objectives. Quoting Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code Section 15657.03, the court observed: “The fact that [the stepdaughter] did not take, or possess, any of [the man’s] real or personal property is irrelevant” because elder abuse includes the taking of any property right “by means of . . . testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder.”
Restraining Order Procedures
To request a restraining order, you must complete several forms are required:
EA-100: This form details the elder abuse that is occurring and what protection you seek and if you need immediate protection.
CLETS-001: This document tells the police who they are being asked to restrain. Again, provide as much detail as possible. The person you seek to restrain will not get a copy of this document.
EA-109: This form is a notice of court hearing. The court will complete most of this document. Once complete, the form must be personally served on the person(s) you are seeking to restrain.
EA-110: This form is required when you need immediate protection under a temporary restraining order. The form must explain exactly why immediate protection is necessary.
If you have a senior loved one who has been manipulated by caregivers, trustees, or others to change their estate plan to benefit themselves and disinherit family, contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way. The case is captioned White v. Wear, __ Cal. App. 5th __ (2022).