Elder Abuse Lawyer
Understanding Elder Abuse and the Probate Process
The probate process exists to help fairly distribute the assets of an estate according to the wishes of the deceased.
Probate courts can also step in and appoint a conservator to help a living person who has become unable to properly manage his or her affairs or is the victim of elder financial fraud and abuse.
As we age, we often become more vulnerable to predatory behavior that includes elder abuse and financial exploitation. People may take advantage of the cognitive decline associated with age to further their own goals. Sadly, these people are often close relatives of those whom they are abusing and mistreating.
Fortunately, legal protections exist in the state of Connecticut to help prevent such scenarios from occurring.
Let’s take a closer look at how elder abuse and the probate process works.
Elder Abuse, Undue Influence and Probate
As we age, we sometimes become unable to resist abusive behavior and are susceptible to undue influence. This means that people (sometimes family members or loved ones) will use deception, abuse of trust and a pattern of manipulation to gain some advantage.
In the context of probate, this may mean that a family member manipulates an older person into changing a will or shifting assets to them using undue influence. This is an ongoing process, rather than an event, and is more than simple persuasion. It is defined as a pattern of tactics that resembles domestic violence, stalking or brainwashing in its nature.
Those who engage in this form of elder abuse often create fear where none should exist, isolate the victim from others, create dependencies and manipulate them into acting in a way that benefits the elder abuse perpetrator.
Because such events are a lot less clearly defined than overt threats or violence, they often require subtle analysis to establish that a true pattern of abuse is occurring.
Probate courts provide an avenue to raise claims of elder abuse. If a family member believes that a will was changed as the result of a campaign of undue influence, that will maybe be challenged in court.
If a family member believes another family member is being financially exploited or abused due to diminished capacity, he or she may ask the courts to intervene and protect the victim from further depredations. There may also be situations where a family member is being exploited financially by a third party. Relief can be sought through the probate court by seeking the appointment of a conservator to protect the family member
The Importance of an Experienced Legal Advocate
Establishing elder abuse or undue influence can be an exhaustive process involving competing analysis of medical records and cognitive testing, and competing recollections of a person’s health and mental fitness and their expressed wishes.
Given the complexity of such cases, it is imperative to work with an attorney experienced in elder abuse and probate law. Such a legal advocate will have the necessary experience to cut through that complexity and present the most compelling legal case.
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