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Possible Indicators of Incapacity, Undue Influence and
to persons (caregivers, service providers, friends) who are not the natural
objects of the client's bounty
□ Gifts to
anyone that are so large, given the size and nature of the client's estate, as
to threaten the client's economic security
particularly if undocumented, to anyone; special scrutiny required if to non‑family members
□ Actions by
client's fiduciary (attorney-in-fact, trustee, other) that reflect poor
judgment or conflict of interest
of estate-planning documents naming non‑family members as fiduciaries or beneficiaries
of joint accounts with non‑family members
that client signs checks prepared by others
plans or other arrangements favoring one child, particularly if a caregiver
□ Evidence of
physical harm (bruises, cuts, etc.)
□ Evidence of
excessive dependence on a child or other person, particularly if such other
person is critical to the client's independence and/or ability to avoid a nursing
inconsistency between client's understanding of estate and its true value
fees charged by professionals (trustees, attorneys, financial advisors,
Unconscionable terms of loans or other financial arrangements.
Courses of Action When Elder Abuse Identified
accountings from prior fiduciaries. Court procedures are available to compel
conservatorship/guardianship procedures to formalize authority in a third party
who will be accountable to the courts.
Adult Protective Services (or its equivalent) in the client's community.
[Caveat: Doing so may constitute a breach of
□ Revoke or
amend estate-planning documents that do not comport with client's wishes.
civil action against person(s) who take financial advantage of client. Such
actions may include elder abuse (in jurisdictions so providing), fraud,
negligence misrepresentation, theft and breach of contract.
civil action against person(s) who physically abused the client. Such actions
may include elder abuse, assault, battery, wrongful death and violation of
Patient Bill of Rights (if events occurred in a nursing home).
assets from accounts held jointly with suspected abuser.
□ Involve the
police and raise possible criminal charges against abuser.
documents (durable power of attorney, trust, other) to effect true, independent
wishes of client.
social worker, counselor, psychologist or professional geriatric care manager.
professional, bonded fiduciary to manage assets for client.