FIVE SIGNS YOUR ELDERLY CLIENT MIGHT BE ABUSED

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According to an article in the ABA the increase in people who are 65 and older is accompanied by a growing shadow—the increase in occurrences of elder abuse, attorney Stephen Rosales says.

Elder abuse may be physical, psychological or sexual, and could include financial exploitation, neglect or abandonment, he explained. Its victims are not limited by gender, ethnicity, culture or socioeconomic status, and its perpetrators are often family, friends and caretakers.

Rosales, a past chair of the ABA’s Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division and a principal at Rosales & Rosales in Belmont, Massachusetts, said this makes it vital that attorneys recognize the warning signs and protect clients who may not be able to protect themselves. He shared some of those warning signs during a webinar sponsored by the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division and Commission on Law and Aging last month.

“I’m just an attorney practicing in my suburban town,” he said. “I do not purposely seek these types of cases. Yet they find me, nonetheless.

“I expect they will find you, too. You need to be prepared.”

The ABA Journal spoke with elder law attorneys about how to identify some red flags or signs of elder abuse when they’re meeting with clients and how to respond to them.

1. The elder client is accompanied by someone who joins the conversation and talks more. “Heavy undue influence” exists in every case involving elder abuse, says Jennifer VanderVeen, the president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and an attorney at Tuesley Hall Konopa in South Bend, Indiana. “A family member brings in mom, sits in the conference and helps mom by talking to you about what mom wants,” she says. “Any time you see that, especially if there is more than one child in the family, but only one child bringing mom in, or a caregiver who is not family bringing mom in, that’s where you’re most likely to see a problem.” VanderVeen recommends that attorneys keep in mind who their client is during these situations.

2. The elder client seems nervous around or intimidated by the person who accompanies them. Deirdre Lok is wary when someone who comes in with an older adult protests confidential conversations. Lok, the assistant director and general counsel for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Justice in Riverdale, New York, observes whether the client seems anxious or afraid of that person, avoids eye contact or trembles. She also notes if the client appears isolated or estranged from everyone except for that person. “Then, let’s say you have the private conversation, and the client doesn’t really disclose anything,” says Lok, also the chair of the Senior Lawyers Division’s Elder Abuse Prevention Committee. “Salient advice is to always say, ‘Look at any point, you can have a confidential conversation with me.’ So you’re offering them the opportunity in the future to come back to you.”

3. The reason for the elder client’s visit raises questions. If an older adult meets with an attorney to change his or her will so that it benefits a new caregiver, friend or neighbor, that immediately sparks concern, says Michael Delaney, a member of the National Elder Law Foundation board of directors and a senior partner at Delaney Delaney & Voorn in Chicago. In that situation, attorneys need to ask questions, especially if they know the client has children or other family members. “Tell me about your kids, why don’t you want to leave anything to them?” he says. “If you have those conversations, sometimes you’ll get answers that make sense, but a red flag for elder abuse is if they don’t quite understand why they want to disinherit their kids in favor of their neighbor.”

4. The elder client has visible injuries or other oddities in his or her appearance. Lok looks for bruises, particularly ones that look like handprints, and burn marks on her elder clients. She acknowledges that many attorneys feel uncomfortable asking questions about these types of injuries, but she stresses the importance. “More importantly, you need to listen to the answers,” Lok says. “I think attorneys have a hard time wanting to go out of their comfort zone, but what I’m suggesting is that it’s a public health crisis.” Lok also pays attention to whether her clients bathed recently, dressed appropriately and use necessary assistive devices, such as a walker or hearing aids. “Those things that go to the physical well-being and health of your client are important to notice, because they are clues to how well they’re A, able to take care of themselves or B, being cared for by another,” she says. Lok recommends that attorneys who suspect elder abuse consult their own state mandatory reporting requirements, since they differ.

5. A family member expresses concerns about the elder client. Elder abuse reporting is on the upswing, says Shirley Berger Whitenack, who hears often from adult children who are worried about their parents. “I get lots of calls about money missing from mom or dad’s account or so and so transferred an asset and didn’t know what they were doing,” says Whitenack, the co-chair of the Elder and Special Needs Law Practice Group at Schenck Price Smith & King in Florham Park, New Jersey. “Or I went to visit my mother and she was sleeping in a bed that had no sheets, and it was 100 degrees in the room. That’s not uncommon.” Whitenack often directs concerned family members to contact Adult Protective Services. She adds that attorneys could also respond by asking the court to appoint a guardian or conservator to make decisions about an older adult’s interests and care

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Riverside Superior Court Closures Through April 17, 2020

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San Bernardino Superior Court March 18, 2020 Court Closure Order

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Except for Massive Unemployment, this Recession is Different

hunter-thompsonWhat a long strange trip it’s been.

JUST 12 YEARS AGO, I reported “in the Spring of 2008, Las Vegas homeowners stopped paying their mortgage, and filed predatory lending lawsuits against their lenders alleging mortgage fraud including RESPA and TILA violations. Hundreds of those cases were filed in the Clark County State and Federal Courts. The year following those filings, testy Las Vegas judges dismissed 99% of those cases reasoning that no one, no matter what, should live for free in America.”

We are using statistics from Nevada and specifically Las Vegas as a microcosm of America’s economic fallout since Las Vegas often falls the hardest in recessions.

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The unemployment rate for Las Vegas During the 2008-2010 Recession shows a sharp spike

Last week, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation saw the most unemployment insurance claims in state history. The department reported Friday that figure was 92,298 regular initial claims for the week ending March 21. The previous high was 8,945 for the week ending January 10, 2009. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. March 27, Las Vegas Review Journal

Governor of Nevada, Sisolak issued an order that prohibits new lockouts, evictions filings and notices to pay. It also applies to commercial buildings, to protect small businesses closed by Sisolak’s previous order, March 29.

The 2008 Recession was driven by financial market failures causing free-falling real estate prices and record foreclosures.

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The real estate market through beginning 2020 shows solid increases. 

By comparison, here are some statements in March 2020 regarding the affect COVID-19 will have on some Americans in general:

“For the economy in general, the first quarter of 2020’s GDP doesn’t have the full impact of the virus. The second quarter will capture the beginnings of the full effect of the virus, which will show a dramatic shock to the economy. By the third quarter, I anticipate the numbers to improve,” March 17, 2020, By Logan Mohtashami.

“I think you’re gonna see institutional legal service providers overwhelmed, legal aid societies overwhelmed, with requests for legal services to handle claims by creditors and potential eviction proceedings and you name it,” March 29, Henry Greenberg New York Bar Assoc.

“You’ve already heard about the massive stock losses in Feb and March. This coincided with massive bond market gains. Mortgages are part of the bond market and gains typically mean lower rates.” March 27, Matthew Graham.

“SeaWorld Entertainment said in a Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the company has temporarily furloughed more than 90 percent of its current employees as of April 1 due to its parks being closed.” March 27, Ryan Parker.

“Pay TV loses its most valuable content — sports — and sees an accelerated decline in subscriptions and ad revenue. Parks and movie theaters are ground to a halt, while gaming companies hit new highs in usage.” March 26, Rebecca Keegan.

“The NCAA will slash $375 million from its budgeted $600 million distribution of men’s basketball tournament revenue to Division I schools.” Andrea Beattie.

“New York City residents who do not follow social distancing policies will be subjected to a fine of between $250 to $500, according to the city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio.

CVS said it was hiring 50,000 to meet exploding demand at its stores. Pizza Hut announced plans to hire 30,000 permanent workers. Walmart announced it will hire about 150,000 temporary workers by the end of May for their stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.

Unlike the 2008 Recession, today there exits no underlying economic shortfall to perpetuate a drawn-out recovery.  Once people are allowed to go back to work, the economy will recover rapidly.  

 

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Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID Crises

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O.C. Superior Court Rules March 27, 2020

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O.C. Elder Abuse Court Rules March 23, 2020

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CA Chief Justice- The courts are and continue to be an essential service

SUMMARY OF RULES FOR ORANGE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURTS

1. Suspend all civil trials, hearings, and proceedings for at least 60 days, with the exception of time-sensitive matters, such as restraining orders and urgent dependency, probate, and family matters. All such hearings have been suspended by Administrative Order Nos. 20/06 (Civil) No. 20/07

2. When possible, provide that any urgent matters may be done telephonically, under the general policy encouraging use of telephonic appearances in Code of Civil Procedure section 367.5(a) and California Rule of Court, rule 3.670.

FAMILY LAW AND PROBATE CASES

“all non-emergency Family Law trials, hearings, and proceedings shall be suspended through June 1, 2020, and all such matters currently scheduled to be heard on or before June 1, 2020 shall be set for a Status Conference scheduled to be heard after June 1, 2020. The Status Conference will be set by the Court prior to the next currently scheduled Hearing date. All such matters shall be trailed from their currently scheduled hearing date to the date of said Status Conference so that no matter will lose its retroactivity. Although hearings may continue to display as calendared in the online case access system, no hearings other than emergency matters will be conducted during the closure period.”

Certain departments implemented “live streaming” i.e. this link Department 5 Live Court Streaming

See full Order Superior Court of California County of Orange AMENDED ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 20/09

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STOUT LAW FIRM FULLY OPERATING DURING THE CORONA CRISES

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