If you've ever heard the term, probate, you might be wondering what it means. Probate is a term given to describe the legal process of transferring a person's property upon death. As you can imagine, it's not possible to avoid all steps of probate, but it can be greatly shortened if the right steps are taken. A dispute in the probate process can greatly extend the process.
When leaving one's assets to loved ones, the last thing they want to worry about is a delay in beneficiaries being able to access them. However, if an estate gets tangled up in probate, that is what is likely to happen. It may be months, or even years, before someone is able to get move into the family home or get the family funds. This can take even longer if the estate is complicated or contested.
Americans are living longer than they did decades ago. Unfortunately, people can become more vulnerable as they age, making them an easy target for abuse. One of the most common forms, especially in California, is financial abuse. However, law enforcement in some parts of the state have been hesitant about tackling these crimes. This reluctance may be a concern for some residents as news reports state allegations of elder financial abuse in Orange County have tripled since 2005.
What many California residents may not be aware of is that family members and caregivers are often the most common perpetrators of emotional and financial elder abuse. As upsetting as it is to hear, the very people who are entrusted to ensure their safety and security are often the very people who are violating them. This is because caregivers and certain family members may not only get to see the elderly individual multiple times a day, but they also get to gain their trust at a time when they feel especially vulnerable.