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California Financial Elder Abuse Attorney

From Joel’s interview for the Masters of the Courtroom series on

What is Financial Elder Abuse?

Financial elder abuse is the exploitation of an elder’s finances by a perpetrator who uses deceit and an elder’s cognitive impairment against them. Elder financial abuse can apply to anyone over the age of 65 in California. It can include a wide range of scenarios, from an elder unknowingly signing their rights to their property away, to being coerced or deceived into making bad investments.

Elder financial abuse is a serious problem related to the fact that many elderly individuals have mental impairments or lapses of judgment due to old age. Perpetrators use this against vulnerable seniors and prey on them for their money, property, stocks, or other assets.

If you suspect that a loved one has been subjected to any kind of elder financial abuse, contact Mr. Bryant and his team of San Diego elder abuse lawyers today. With years of experience and a practice devoted exclusively to elder law, they can help you.

How is an Elder Coerced into Being Abused Financially?

Elder abuse can result from an individual building a relationship with and gaining the trust of an elderly person, only to financially exploit them. Some qualities that make senior citizens more susceptible to abuse include:

  • Isolated
  • Diminished mental capacity, such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia
  • Disability (mental or physical)
  • Recently experienced the loss of a close loved one, such as a spouse
  • Unfamiliar with how to handle their finances or incapable of doing so
  • Close family members who are experiencing financial trouble

Who Perpetrates Financial Elder Abuse?

Sadly, in most cases the abuser is someone the elder or their family trusted. They may be a caretaker, family member, friend, attorney, stockbroker, financial advisor, insurance agent or any other person who gains access to the elder’s assets, or who persuades the elder to make an improper investment or take out an unsuitable mortgage. Financial elder abuse generally occurs after a relationship has been established, creating a false sense of trust or even friendship between the elder and the abuser.

However, sometimes even unfamiliar individuals can perpetrate abuse, as those lacking mental capacity or good judgement can easily be tricked or scammed. Perpetrators of elder abuse may have the following characteristics:

  • They feel they are not being compensated enough for their care of the elderly individual.
  • They fear that their inheritance is going to be used up by elder’s medical care.
  • They feel as though they should be getting a different inheritance than the originally planned one.
  • They feel negatively about other family members and believe that those family members’ inheritance should be limited
  • They struggle financially due to drinking, drugs, or gambling and do not care whether they make money honestly.

The perpetrators of elder abuse may also harbor other characteristics that enable them to successfully prey on older adults. They also use deceptive tactics to gain an elder’s trust and ultimately take advantage of them. Such characteristics or tendencies include:

  • May look through obituaries or search neighborhoods to find elders who have recently lost a loved one.
  • May say that they love the elder to gain their confidence and manipulate them.
  • May isolate the elder from other family members.
  • May turn the elder against other family members by falsely telling the elder that other family members want to put the elder in a nursing home or take the elder’s money.
  • May move around from community to community or from job to job to remain undetected.
  • May use a position of trust to take advantage of the elder, such as selling the elder an improper insurance product or investment.
  • May use unfair business practices to trick the elder.
  • May charge much more than the reasonable value of a certain good or service

Types of Financial Elder Abuse

Financial elder abuse is a very serious societal problem. Some forms of financial elder abuse that Attorney Bryant can successfully deal with include:

  • Loss of Real Estate:​ ​Usually, the deed is put in the name of the abuser, or the abuser is added to the deed.
  • Loss of Stocks/Investments/Bank Accounts: ​By adding the abuser to the accounts, or as beneficiary of the accounts.
  • Intentionally Bad Investment Advice from a Financial Professional: ​Persuading the elder to buy an improper annuity, high-risk stock, improper insurance product, or unsuitable investment so the insurance or financial professional can get a large commission.
  • Mortgage Loan Fraud: ​Convincing the elder to take out a home loan with overly high fees, interest, payments, or penalties. Similarly, convincing the elder to obtain an unnecessary or inappropriate reverse mortgage.
  • Medical Care/Service Fraud​: Charging exorbitant prices for medical care or services that an elder needs, or charging for care they never received.
  • Scams: ​Many kinds of scams target the elderly, especially with the level of connectivity that comes with the Internet and smartphones. Such scams may include fake lotteries or sweepstakes, fake messages to bail a family member out of jail, fake charitable organizations, telemarketing scams, utility scams, and repairman scams.

What is a Conservatorship in California?

A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person (“conservator”) to care for another adult (“conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances. ​A conservator is someone who has obtained the right to take control of the conservatee’s finances and/or medical and personal care.

If your loved one shows signs of being unable to handle their finances or resist fraud or undue influence, then a conservator of the estate may be appointed. If the elder is unable to properly provide for their own needs for physical health, food, clothing , or shelter, then a conservator of the person may be obtained. Priority for being appointed conservator is first given to a spouse, then to siblings and children.

A trusted lawyer or family member can also keep an eye on the elder’s assets without fully taking control or assuming the position of conservator. Still, an elder who is competent enough to handle their money can be taken advantage of if they are lied to and tricked by a skilled perpetrator. In these cases, the trail leading to the perpetrator is difficult but not always impossible to notice.

Determining Who is Responsible for Elder Abuse

Attorney Bryant will conduct an immediate investigation to determine which parties are potentially responsible for losses and make sure that:

  • Stolen real estate or investments are returned to the elder (where possible)
  • The abuser’s name is removed from deeds and/or accounts
  • The abuser and any others responsible for the elder’s financial losses are held accountable
  • Any other legal remedies necessary to restore the elder’s financial status are followed

Contact an Experienced California Financial Elder Abuse Lawyer

Given that financial elder abuse is rarely prosecuted by criminal authorities, the first thing to do if you suspect abuse is to reach out to an experienced, knowledge elder law litigation attorney. It is important to react quickly to recover stolen finances. Contact Attorney Joel Bryant and his team right away so that investigations can begin immediately.

If your loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse, Joel Bryant and his experienced legal team can help you, as they have helped many previous clients. His firm has successfully handled many cases where someone has taken advantage of an elderly person by lying to them, unduly influencing them, pressuring them, or exploiting the elder’s cognitive impairment. Time is of the essence, so call today for more information and to schedule a free case evaluation. The quicker you take action, the more likely that the assets taken from your loved one will be rightfully returned, and that justice will be brought upon the perpetrator!

Video Transcription

“I handle all types of serious financial elder abuse cases. My cases involve loss of real estate. For example, a situation where an elder unwittingly signs a quitclaim deed or a grant deed, which gives title to their own property to someone else. Those cases may involve a person who gets a power of attorney from an elder. Many times, the elder doesn’t even know what they’ve signed, and the person uses that power of attorney to go into the elder’s bank accounts and investment accounts and take all their property. Other financial elder abuse cases may involve bad investment advice. And a good example of this is I’ve seen some financial professionals will sell elders’ investments that they don’t need or cannot afford. In the financial elder abuse arena, it’s particularly important that if a person suspects their loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse, to contact me as soon as possible. This is important because, in financial elder abuse cases, time is of the essence. We need to take timely action so that we can recover the elder’s assets. The longer a person waits to contact my firm regarding a financial elder abuse case, the longer the elder abuser has to spend, transfer, or hide the assets they improperly obtained from the elder.”


“Joel and his team were the help I needed to approach the nursing home that didn’t take good care of my grandmother. With Joel’s help, my grandmother was fairly compensated for the injuries she suffered as a result of the nursing home’s neglect and abuse.”

Andrea C.

“When one of the most tragic events happened in my life, Joel Bryant and Jason Julius were there for me when I needed someone the most. They both were very professional, honest, compassionate, and supportive."

Brent R.

“Joel was amazingly accessible, by phone, email and often, in person, and still is. He is a professional with an understanding heart, and a sense of humor. I still feel very fortunate to have had him on my side.”

Michelle B.
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