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Jul 16, 2022 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorney: Undue Influence, New Wills, And Financial Elder Abuse

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Wills And Competence Issues

Undue Influence Over Elderly

Will Contests

Financial exploitation of older persons stretches from theft of cash, jewelry and checks froma senior’s home all the way to elaborate estate planning schemes arranged near the end of a senior’s life meant to enrich one or two individuals exerting undue influence over the older person.  Often, a “new” Will, trust or trust amendment arranged by these financial predators (like a caregiver or new advisor) only come to light after the older victim has deceased.  The victim’s family, old friends, or old professionals may be the persons whom the new predators are cutting out of the senior’s life and estate, covering up their actions until after the elder has died.  Whatever the form of financial elder abuse, Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents victims and their families against those exploiting seniors whether through theft while the senior is still alive, or by Wills, trusts and other estate planning mechanisms after the senior has died.  If you need help call us today at (415)441-8669.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent Will Contest Example

A recently reported case illustrates how a later Will may be used to exploit an older person and take away the estate and executor responsibilities from those persons chosen when the older person still had the capacity to make their own decisions free of undue influence.[1]   The facts of the case are these: a wealthy, elderly woman died earlier this year leaving an estimated $8 million estate. Her longtime accountant and lawyer promptly filed paperwork submitting a will signed in 2001 to distribute her assets. In that will, the accountant and lawyer were named as executors. Subsequently, another individual, owner of a local funeral home, submitted a will purportedly signed by the elderly woman in 2020 to distribute estate assets. In that will, the funeral home director was named the person who distributed Crandall’s assets.  The proponents of the 2001 Will alleged that the funeral home director had used undue influence to convince the elderly woman, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2018, to sign the 2020 will.  The Court did not reach the undue influence allegation because it ruled that the 2020 will was invalid because it did not meet the witness requirements under the law.  The Court did, however, dismiss with prejudice the petition to probate the 2020 Will, meaning that the proponent of that Will could not present the Will again for probate.

The case shows how persons may use an elderly person’s diminished capacity to exclude her former advisors and arrange for execution of new estate planning documents undoing what the individual wanted when they had the capacity to make their own decisions.  We see this kind of manipulation of seniors occur all too frequently and are ready to represent families and longtime friends and advisors disinherited and removed by this kind of undue influence.  The manipulation may be the work of a caregiver, second spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or new “advisor” to the elderly person.  We always advise families, loved ones, and old friends of seniors to stay active in the senior’s life so that these kinds of predators are not able to achieve their dishonest intent.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been the victim of this kind of financial elder abuse or have been disinherited as a result of undue influence by another over a senior here in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way.

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