AB 140 (Dickinson) Undue Influence (Fact Sheet)
The current definition of “undue influence” does not adequately capture and apply to elder abuse situations, especially situations in which abusers are adult children, spouses, and partners. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that 90% of abusers are family members and other individuals who are close to the victim.
According to the California Department of Justice, an estimated 1 in 20 elders is a victim of neglect or physical, psychological, or financial abuse. Elder financial abuse will continue to grow as California’s senior population doubles to 6.4 million by 2025, as projected by the United States Census Bureau. In 2000, Adult Protective Service agencies received more than 53,000 reports of elder abuse; by 2006, the reports increased to more than 69,000.
An updated, modernized definition of “undue influence” and clear guidelines for judges and juries to determine if the senior has been unduly influenced.
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (sponsor), Alzheimer’s Association, California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Association for Health Services at Home, California Commission on Aging, California Police Chiefs Association, California Senior Legislature, Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect – UC Irvine Program in Geriatrics, Consumer Federation of California, County Welfare Directors Association of California, Institute on Aging, National Association of Social Workers, Ohlone/East Bay Older Women’s League of California, Older Women’s League of California. No opposition.
In 1991, the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) was enacted in response to the growing awareness of elder abuse. EADACPA was designed to protect elders and dependent adults from physical abuse, financial abuse, and neglect and includes heightened remedies for elder abuse, such as trebling of damages as well as the awarding of attorney’s fees.
Related, pending legislation includes AB 381 (Chau), which would authorize an award of double damages when a person has taken, concealed, or disposed of property that belongs to another under a power of attorney by the use of undue influence in bad faith or through the commission of elder or dependent adult financial abuse.
Updates the old “undue influence” definition and provides a concrete list of factors for a court to consider in civil elder abuse and probate actions involving decedents’ estates, trusts, minors, and conservatorship of adults who are unable to provide for their personal needs or manage their financial resources.