Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can be physical, emotional or financial. It is defined in Welfare & Institutions Code sections 15600 et seq. as well as Penal Code section 368. An “elder" is defined as a person 65 years of age or older. The elder abuse statutes also require certain individuals to report suspected instances of elder abuse.

In extreme cases, the District Attorney may prosecute the perpetrator. However, many cases of elder abuse are not prosecuted criminally because of the higher burden of proof for criminal liability and the lack of resources to prosecute.

Where the abuse is less profound or principally economic, often family members are left to address the abuse. In addition to typical civil claims, California law provides for a cause of action for elder abuse. In certain instances, attorneys’ fees may be recoverable from the abuser. See W&I, section 15657.

In other cases, the law may prevent an abuser from inheriting from the estate of the abused individual. See Probate Code section 259.

An experienced attorney can help determine what legal claims and remedies may be available – and just as importantly, whether it is cost-effective to prosecute those claims.

If you have a question about your legal rights, or wish to speak to an attorney about your situation, please call us today at 510-663-9240, or contact us online to discuss your legal rights.


California Attorney General – Elder Abuse Pamphlet