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Senior Centers May Be Liable for Aiding Elder Financial Abuse
- September 27th, 2007
Senior centers sometimes host presentations by sales agents offering free seminars or lunches that purportedly provide attendees with valuable information relating to estate planning. But these presentations often turn out to be unscrupulous efforts to persuade the elderly to purchase financial products they don't need. For example, the presenters may be operating a "living trust mill" that targets seniors as sales prospects for annuities that often do not mature until after their buyer's death.
These sellers of financial products can be charged with financial elder abuse. But can a senior center that hosts the event where the abuse took place be liable as well? Several California cities have been told this may be the case.
As reported in the Prevent Elder Abuse blog, San Francisco attorney Steven Riess, who specializes in elder financial abuse and abusive annuities sales, sent a memorandum and supporting legal analysis to city attorneys in several Santa Clara County cities contending that: "By permitting an abuser to use its facilities for a presentation, a senior center is increasingly likely to be named as a co-defendant in an elder financial abuse lawsuit based upon direct, vicarious, and joint enterprise theories of liability."
In other words, senior centers could be the target of suits. Riess said that California's definition of elder financial abuse appears to apply to organizations that merely enable the exploitation to take place.
Shortly after the Riess memorandum was received, the cities instructed local senior centers to deny access to suspect commercial enterprises, according to the blog, although none of the Santa Clara centers say that liability concerns motivated them to take action.
Another factor prompting the centers to act could be a class action lawsuit filed by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform and the Institute on Aging alleging that several companies used "free" living trust seminars to improperly learn about seniors' finances and then sent agents to the seniors' homes to sell them annuities. (See "Lawsuit Charges Annuity Sellers With Elder Abuse".)
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...
Law Offices of John L. Laster
John Laster is a lawyer licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He limits his practice to wealth transfer planning, trusts, wills, powers of attorney, health care decision-making issues, estate administration and related tax, elder law and disability concerns. Listed in The Best Lawyers...
Ron M. Landsman, P.A.
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...