More News On Elder Abuse, And What People Are Doing – But You Cannot Treat Or Remedy It Without Private Attorneys

I am writing about elder and dependent adult abuse more, and more often. Elder and dependent adult abuse already was and has been an epidemic. The topic, however, is in the news more often, and governmental units are increasing their discussions about elder and dependent adult abuse, but those discussions cannot treat or remedy the abuse – there simply are not sufficient time and experienced people resources to treat and remedy the problem. I encourage the increased efforts, but people need to understand that those resources still are entirely insufficient. It takes a lot of time, and expertise to prosecute these cases in court. A couple of cases can almost entirely occupy an attorney’s time. Long ago the California Legislature enacted the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act to encourage private attorneys to take on these cases. Well . . . private attorneys cannot take on these cases if they aren’t contacted to do so, and in most instances governmental entities work in silos, and also will not refer to private attorneys. The ridiculousness of this situation is extremely frustrating.

I am attaching links to two new elder abuse articles. One of the articles HERE is by Forbes, discussing banks and what they are doing about elder abuse. Although identifying elder abuse and freezing an account might be helpful in certain cases, bank investigations and referral to adult protective services don’t provide the resources to prosecute and remedy the abuse. The other article HERE discusses a Dallas County effort to prosecute and remedy the abuse – I cannot determine from the article whether private attorneys are utilized – hopefully they are and that would be a step forward – but it is clear that without private attorneys the necessary resources absolutely do not exist and people should not talk as if they are truly prosecuting and remedying the abuse..

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Mateo County, the Bay Area, and California)

 

 

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Ombudsman Services – San Mateo County – Annual Report 2014-2015 – 4,497 Care Facility Visits – 1,624 Investigations – And More Good Work

Ombudsman Services SMC Visits Investigations FY 2014-2015

Below is a link to the San Mateo County, California, Ombudsman Services annual report for 2014-2015. The report shows amazingly substantial services for the year, including for example, 4,497 facility visits, and 1,624 investigations. As you might know, Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County, Inc. is committed to working with residents, families, facilities and stakeholders to create a community dedicated to protecting the rights of all residents living in long term care in San Mateo County. They challenge long-term care facilities to deliver the highest standards of individualized care for their residents, and advocate for the health, safety, and dignity of these residents and broader changes in the system.

The following is a link to the annual report – please take a look at this worthwhile organization that does good work on behalf of and protecting the rights of residents living in long term care facilities in San Mateo County, CLICK HERE

And please do pass this information and blog post to other people who would be interested in these very important services. Thank you.

Dave Tate, Esq., San Francisco and throughout California, civil, trust, estate, conservatorship and elder abuse litigation, and contentious administrations. My two blogs: http://californiaestatetrust.com and http://directorofficernews.com

There Needs To Be A Law – Petitioning For Conservatorship Should Not Disinherit You

Short and sweet. I’m not sure what the wording should be, but we need a law that to some extent protects a person from being disinherited for filing a petition for conservatorship.

The situation that I have in mind: a son or daughter files a petition for conservatorship of their mother or father. In doing so, the son or daughter risks that mom or dad will be very angry with the petition and will seek to change their estate planning to exclude or disinherit the son or daughter.  There needs to be some protection for the son or daughter, whether the petition for conservatorship is granted or not.

I’m not saying that I favor conservatorships. A conservatorship can be a serious restriction on a person’s constitutional rights and freedom. All I’m saying is that a son or daughter should not have to fear possible disinheritance for filing a petition for conservatorship in a situation where there is no finding that the petition was filed in bad faith or where there is evidence that a conservatorship might be necessary even if less restrictive options are available.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco and California), click link to this blog, Law Office of David W. Tate, and also working with Albertson & Davidson LLP, northern and southern California click link to Albertson & Davidson website.

What is Elder and Dependent Adult Self Abuse or Neglect?

This is a significant category of elder and dependent adult abuse or neglect that generally isn’t discussed or defined. When thinking about elder and dependent adult abuse most of us tend to first think about abuse committed by persons other than the victim, and those perpetrators are typically classified either as outside third party or family perpetrators. Statistically, I have read that approximately 1/3 of the perpetrators are outside third party perpetrators, and about 2/3 of the perpetrators are family members.

But what about self abuse or self neglect. The following is a definition of self neglect from the National Center on Elder Abuse – and then below that definition I have added one area to that description:

“Tragically, sometimes elders neglect their own care, which can lead to illness or injury. Self-neglect can include behaviors such as:

  • Hoarding of objects, newspapers/magazines, mail/paperwork, etc., and/or animal hoarding to the extent that the safety of the individual (and/or other household or community members) is threatened or compromised.
  • Failure to provide adequate food and nutrition for oneself.
  • Failure to take essential medications or refusal to seek medical treatment for serious illness
  • Leaving a burning stove unattended
  • Poor hygiene
  • Not wearing suitable clothing for the weather
  • Confusion
  • Inability to attend to housekeeping
  • Dehydration

Self-neglect is one of the most frequently reported concerns brought to adult protective services. Oftentimes, the problem is paired with declining health, isolation, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or drug and alcohol dependency.

In some of these cases, elders will be connected to supports in the community that can allow them to continue living on their own. Some conditions like depression and malnutrition may be successfully treated through medical intervention. If the problems are severe enough, a guardian may be appointed.”

See also the discussion about self neglect by the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life at Click Here.

The area that I would add is financial elder and dependent adult self abuse or neglect – i.e., difficulty or the inability to make sound financial management decisions or choices, also including (1) lack of or difficulty with mental capacity and ability to understand the issues and choices at hand, (2) delay, procrastination or simply not making decisions that need to be made, and (3) also including an already recognized area of abuse by a third party which is the inability to resist the efforts or activities by a perpetrator of financial abuse.

I am seeing an already not insignificant, and an increasing number of materials and articles about elder and dependent adult situations that fit the financial elder and dependent adult self abuse or neglect definition.

These situations can raise a whole host of issues to address, such as how to protect the elder or dependent adult without violating his or her rights, in addition to satisfying personal third party duties and avoiding personal third party liability.  A scenario, for example, where you might see this type of situation in the financial category is when the elder or dependent adult goes to consult with his or her banker, investment advisor or financial advisor and the banker or advisor sees or gets a feeling that there are or might be actions or occurrences by the elder or dependent adult that evidence financial elder or dependent adult self abuse or neglect.

Please do pass information about self abuse, this blog and this blog post to other people who would be interested.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco), Civil Litigation; Trust, Estate, Conservatorship and Elder Abuse Litigation; Trust, Estate and Conservatorship Administration; Representing Fiduciaries and Beneficiaries.

Study Finds Antipsychotic Drugs For Dementia Patients Increase Risk of Death

An interesting article discussing a finding that antipsychotic drugs for dementia increase the risk of death. I find equally interesting the numbers of elderly who are receiving antipsychotic drugs.  Click on the following link for the article, Click Here.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

My other blog for directors, boards, audit committees, officers, CEO’s, CFO’s, risk management, governance and compliance: http://directorofficernews.com

Mandated Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Reporting – Then What’s Next – Community Response

INDICATORS OF ELDER AND DEPENDENT ADULT FINANCIAL ABUSE

Elder and dependent adult financial abuse is on the rise, and within the community resources and coordination are inadequate to address the issue. Adding to that difficulty, the possible indicators of elder and dependent adult financial abuse are numerous – it isn’t possible to provide an exhaustive list of financial abuse indicators – and although in some situations the occurrence of abuse is obvious many times whether actual abuse is occurring, or whether you should suspect that abuse is occurring, really depends upon the facts and circumstances at that time, and how you interpret those facts and circumstances. A legitimate explanation for the occurrence might also exist, or it is possible that the elder or dependent adult simply is making what might be considered to be an unwise decision that isn’t being caused by abuse.

All of the above having been said, it is recognized that there is a community-wide need for the collaboration of people and resources, and a visible discussion about elder and dependent adult financial abuse, how to spot it and what to do when it is suspected. The below list of possible financial abuse indicators is intended to be for helpful discussion purposes, recognizing that each situation must be separately evaluated.

As an overall initial indicator, basically, possible elder or dependent adult financial abuse typically becomes apparent from a financial, asset or property situation that appears to be unnatural or out of character for that elder or dependent adult, or for the typical similar person in society. For the purpose of this discussion, under California law a dependent adult is someone age 18 or older and an elder is someone age 65 or older.

So . . . the following are some of the possible indicators or situations where there is greater opportunity for abuse, including undue influence, to occur, but I am sure that you can also come up with additional indicators.

√ Increased or unusual banking activity.

√ An unusually, or out of the ordinary, large transaction.

√ The purchase of an unusual item or service.

√ Money being paid to or for the benefit of someone out of the ordinary. The person could be a stranger to the elder or dependent adult, a caregiver, a housekeeper, a neighbor, a friend, a gardener, or even a family member.

√ A change in account title or authority.

√ Someone improperly using his or her authority over the elder or dependent adult’s account. Possible a trustee, attorney in fact, co-account holder, family member, “friend” or other person.

√ Unusual credit card transactions or balances.

√ A change in deed or real property or account title or ownership.

√ Unusual ATM activity.

√ Telemarketing and mail fraud; fake prizes; fake accidents; unnecessary purchases or home improvements; getting a windfall upon the payment of money or by providing information.

√ Risky, unnecessary or unusual investments, insurance, warranties or annuities.

√ Unusual people accompanying the elder or dependent adult; new or unusual acquaintances; new “friends,” boyfriends or girlfriends.

√ The elder or dependent adult not speaking for himself, or herself; or some other person directing the elder or dependent adult, the situation or the proposed transaction.

√ The elder or dependent adult acting in a secretive or evasive manner; or perhaps in an overly defensive or hostile manner in response to questions or even in response to typical conversations.

√ The elder or dependent adult being forgetful, disorganized, disoriented, confused, or unaware of his or her surroundings or common events.

√ The elder or dependent adult acting paranoid or fearful about the bank or investment or financial institution, or about his or her accounts.

√ A change in the appearance, actions or demeanor of the elder or dependent adult; social withdrawal; unkempt; or health problems, including what is referred to as self-abuse.

√ The elder or dependent adult being concerned about who will help or assist him or her, or take care of him or her.

√ Expressions of concern, pressure, worry or fear.

√ Excessive payment for a product or subscription, or for services; or payment for an unnecessary product or subscription, or for services.

√ Excessive or unnecessary borrowing by the elder or dependent adult, or someone on his or her behalf.

√ The elder or dependent adult wanting to avoid conversation.

√ Unusual or unnatural will, trust, power of attorney, deed, mortgage or account terms or documents; or unusual or unnatural changes in the terms or conditions of those documents; or the unusual or unnatural selection or nomination of the person to exercise authority in or over those documents.

√ Documents, checks, payments, etc., missing, misplaced or stolen.

√ The elder or dependent adult being evicted, or loss of utilities.

√ The elder or dependent adult becoming isolated from others, either because of other people causing that isolation, or because of the elder or dependent adult’s lack of interest or motivation.

√ Forged, missing, or strange-looking signatures.

√ Changes in financial institution.

√ Changes in account, IRA, or insurance beneficiaries.

√ Unpaid bills.

√ The sudden appearance, assistance or interest of strangers, friends or relatives.

√ New people helping the elder or dependent adult around the house, or with the yard; home improvements.

√ Associating with much younger people.

√ Reluctance to discuss financial matters.

√ The elder or dependent adult’s increasing tiredness, withdrawal or depression.

√ The sudden or unexplained transfer of assets.

* * * * *

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco / California)