It isn’t always the case that you are aware of potential dangers to you or other loved ones who are rightful heirs under the law. In cases where you suspect your rights as an heir are threatened, you should contact an Estate Attorney. This is especially the case if you suspect an elder or incapacitated person is being manipulated or defrauded. In Sacramento, inheritance theft is not uncommon. Suspected Inheritance theft, also know as inheritance hijacking is frequently the subject of lawsuits and litigation. If you suspect an elderly or an incapacitated adult is being coerced, threatened or in harms way, take appropriate action immediately.
Crimes against the elderly often don’t get reported because loved ones don’t understand the scope of the abuse until it is too late. In some cases, loved ones are afraid to report suspected elder abuse out of fear of upsetting the victim or being disinherited. In other cases, elder abuse goes unreported because of a fear the loved one will be kicked out of facility or will lose supportive care.
Even if your loved one suggests or tells you in plain English, everything is alright, if you suspect elder abuse or a crime against an elderly or incapacitated person, CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT!
1. It is harder and expensive to remedy inheritance theft after the testator passes.
2. In California, there are time limits to file a dispute after you have been legally notified.
1. As a rightful heir you are being told you have been disowned.
2. Property transfers to other family members, neighbors or caregivers before testator passes.
3. Family members or caregiver denying access to loved one.
4. Family members denying access to financial records.
5. Elder or incapacitated loved one seems tense, withdrawn or avoids contact with you.
6. Rightful heir being told to “mind your own business”.
7. Family member or caregiver appears to be instigating issues that cause family separation.
8. Loved one, (testator) has appointment to adjust a Will or Trust.
There are a lot of ways inheritances are stolen or hijacked and if you feel something is going on, contact us or your Estate Attorney for advice. It is almost always too late after the fact unless special circumstances like elder abuse are present. Even if you were to prevail after the fact, the estate in question could be hard to retrieve after disbursement.
The bottom line is that it is easier to manage an Estate while the testator is alive than after his or her estate has been disbursed or subject to probate.
This article is not intended to be legal advice, but an advisory on experiences we as Estate Attorneys in California are experienced in dealing with.
The Sterling Law Group is a member of the Wealth Counsel and practices business and Estate Law in California. For information about protecting your inheritance, call 916-790-0852. Now is better, later could be too late! We offer walk-in service at our Roseville (Placer County) office and have by appointment office hours in Tracy (San Joaquin County).