Fraudulent Transfers in Undue Influence Cases

San Francisco Probate Litigation Lawyers Fight Tortious Interference

Photo of a legal documentWhen elderly or ill individuals rely on a caretaker for support, they may become the victims of undue influence. A caretaker may threaten or use his or her influence over the elderly person to influence financial decisions. This is elder financial abuse, and may result in a defective will as well as fraudulent transfers of assets during the individual’s life. However, family members can challenge wills, as well as any fraudulent transfers or gifts.

Our San Francisco probate litigation lawyers have over 30 years of experience advising and representing families whose loved ones were the victims of undue influence. We have successfully resolved many probate disputes, including those involving fraudulent transfers and gifts. Attorney Charles Triay is a certified specialist in probate litigation, and uses his expertise to get justice for individuals and families in estate law matters.

What Are Fraudulent Transfers in California Probate Law?

A fraudulent transfer may be any gift or bequest of money or assets that results from undue influence. In these cases, a caregiver often coerces an elderly individual into making legal or financial decisions in favor of him or her. Some common examples of fraudulent transfers of estate property include:

  • A caregiver threatens an elderly charge, explicitly or implicitly, into leaving the caregiver all or a portion of the estate.
  • An elderly individual is manipulated into giving financial gifts to a caretaker or another person close to him or her. This is commonly a problem when the elderly person lacks the capacity to make decisions. However, a person may exert undue influence over any elderly or ill individual using threats like abandonment and abuse.
  • A caretaker forges signatures or checks to steal money from an elderly charge. Alternatively, an elderly person may be tricked into signing something he or she does not understand. This can result in a transfer of money or property that he or she does not intend.

Family members can prevent the fraudulent transfer of estate assets by staying in contact with elderly loved ones. If possible, monitor your relative’s finances as well, or hire an accountant to do so. Any inconsistencies or large transfers of funds may be evidence of elder financial abuse. Most importantly, encourage your loved one to communicate his or her concerns to you to prevent others from taking advantage of him or her.

Can I Recover Assets Lost to Fraud?

A family is often unaware of fraudulent transfers or changes to a will until after their relative has passed away. Gifts and/or changes in a person’s will are not incontestable proof of undue influence. However, these are often the first warning signs. If you suspect a fraudulent transfer of estate assets, you may challenge the will in probate court. You may be able to prove lack of capacity or that someone exerted undue influence over your relative during estate planning. As a result, the courts may declare the will defective and unlawful.

Gifts made prior to your loved one’s death may be more difficult to reclaim, especially if the recipient has already spent the money or sold the property. However, you do have legal options. A probate litigation attorney can help you carry out your loved one’s true intentions and can give you advice in elder financial abuse cases.

Questions on Fraudulent Transfers? Call San Francisco Probate Litigation Lawyers Today

If you are the beneficiary of an estate and believe that assets have been fraudulently transferred to someone else, call a probate litigator. In cases involving elder financial abuse, a probate litigation attorney can manage the complex legal aspects of your case and help you honor your loved one’s true wishes.

Attorney Charles Triay is a probate litigation specialist. He has more than 30 years of experience contesting wills and handling fraudulent transfer cases. We offer clients the option to pay probate litigation attorney fees on a contingency or hourly basis. Contact our law firm today to discuss your undue influence case.