FRAUDULENT TRANSFERS IN UNDUE INFLUENCE CASES
Oakland Probate Litigation Lawyers Fight Tortious Interference
When 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.
Proving undue influence can be difficult. However, a knowledgeable probate litigation lawyer can give you an excellent opportunity to resolve the issue. Courts may rely on witnesses who knew your loved one well and may ask them to describe the relationship between your loved one and the person accused of undue influence. If you can prove that your loved one depended or trusted this person or that a medical issue made your loved one vulnerable to influence, the will may be declared defective.
If you are worried about your loved one suffering from undue influence, then the best way to prevent this is frequent and regular communications and visits. Make sure your loved one is comfortable speaking to you about anything that may be bothering him or her. Isolation can leave an elderly person particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation and abuse.
If you believe someone is currently taking advantage of your loved one, then talk to an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can work with you to explore your options. If your loved one has a lack of capacity and cannot make rational decisions, then you may need to ask a court to appoint a conservator.
In many cases, relatives may not know what caused a loved one to leave them out of a will until after that loved one dies. Often, the person who commits undue influence attempts to hide the act until the loved one passes. When this happens, family members and others can still take their case to probate court. It may then may result in the judge declaring a will defective.
What constitutes undue influence is a gray area that will always be fact specific. In some cases, an elderly person will alter or update a will to leave a larger gift to a caretaker or favorite relative who has been a source of support near the end of the person’s life. This is not undue influence.
However, if this friend or caretaker used improper means to coerce your loved one to significantly alter the will, this may constitute undue influence. If this person threatens your loved one and forces him or her to change a will, then that is also undue influence.
About Triay Law Office
Probate litigation attorney Charles Triay has specialized in California probate litigation matters for over 30 years.Read More
Probate Litigation Blog
We have a wide variety of information to share on all subjects regarding probate litigation.Read More
Watch our informational videos.Watch