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In this week’s edition of Estate Planning News, we’re highlighting legislative changes affecting an important elder law offense: Undue Influence. As the selected pieces linked below point out, the key features of this law change is broadening the class of people who are able to commit the offense and the time frame when it can occur. Under previous iterations of the statute, undue influence was limited to testamentary actions (such as gifts in a will or trust), and required a specialized relationship between the elder and the abuser. The new version of the law accounts for actions that steer seniors toward parting with their property during their lifetimes, even without a confidential relationship being present. Read the articles to learn more!
Existing law provides that financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when, among other instances, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined.
DENNIS FORDHAM On Jan. 1, 2014, California amended its statutory definition of “undue influence” in section 15610.70 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. This new definition of “undue influence” applies both to “financial elder abuse” that affects the victim while alive and also to undue influence that affect the victim’s “testamentary dispositions” after death.