The month of December is filled with gift giving and celebrations, from the eight days of Hanukkah to Christmas Eve. For many reasons, monetary gifts are a popular choice—a check is far easier to wrap, and gives the recipient freedom to choose something they want or need. Financial elder abuse attorneys in California remind gift-givers of the state’s Gift-Tax laws, as well as to be wary of fraudulent requests for money this holiday season.
At the holidays, Christmas parties and family get-togethers often put pressure on people to provide gifts for everyone in attendance, even if the friends and family are ones with whom an elderly person does not have a relationship. Although there is nothing wrong with following the conventional holiday practice of giving gifts to loved ones and caretakers, attorneys warn older Californians to avoid any fraudulent or coercive tactics to make it on the Christmas gift list.
Estranged family members may try to convince elderly people with medical complications like Alzheimer’s or dementia to write them checks as gifts, or to provide financial assistance to buy gifts this year, even going so far as to fake a relationship in the month or so leading up to December. Close family members who have asserted undue influence on an elderly person may step up the financial pressure as well, talking the older person into making frequent withdrawals from their accounts, or suggest that they deserve large checks as a “thank you” for their caretaking role all year.
Nursing home residents may also see an increase in events that suggest gift giving, or experience pressure to provide monetary tokens to the entire staff. Financial elder abuse lawyers in California say that older people should not feel forced to give additional gifts to their caretakers, and especially not to nurses or staff members whom they have never met.
Older Californians may also find themselves the recipients of requests for charitable donations, either from their nursing home facility, family members who support a special cause, or by mail, email, or other forms of communication. If you have a local charity that you support, and you want to give a gift at the holidays, make sure you know exactly where your money is going. If the charity is new, or one you have never given to before, ask a family member or trusted friend to check it out. It may be a fraud, set up to scam people out of their money during such a giving season.
In California, charitable donations and other financial gifts are taxed under the Gift-Tax laws. A gift-tax is imposed on the giver of the gift, and the recipient gets the gift tax-free. There is an annual exemption, as well as a lifetime exemption, from the gift-tax, both of which have been adjusted to account for inflation. Elderly Californians who give certain amounts to family members and charities per year can often include their gifts under the annual exemption requirements. Contact a financial elder abuse lawyer for more details.
At the Evans Law Firm, our financial elder abuse attorneys represent older Californians who have fallen victim to financial coercion and manipulation from their family members and friends. If you are being hounded for money or financial support, contact an attorney at the Evans Law Firm for a consultation on how to best protect your assets: 415-441-8669.