Disincentivizing Elder Abuse Through Disinheritance

Most enacted elder abuse disinheritance statutes suffer from one of two common deficiencies. … [either] such statutes require a criminal conviction, which deprives family members of an incentive to report and prosecute the abuse because they may lack evidence to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. … [or they] provide for disinheritance only in cases of financial elder abuse, relying on false ideas about which kinds of abusive acts actually relate to inheritance

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DISINCENTIVIZING ELDER ABUSE THROUGH DISINHERITANCE: REVAMPING CALIFORNIA PROBATE CODE § 259 AND USING IT AS A MODEL

Travis Hunt, BYU L. Rev. 445 (2014)

Police found Ms. Brown, a seventy-four-year-old woman, partially fused to an arm chair surrounded by her own filth.1 Her son and primary caretaker, James Owens, left her in the chair for days, allegedly complying with her request to let her die at home. Luckily for Ms. Brown, James tried to endorse her social security check, and authorities eventually found her. Ms. Brown was pried from her arm chair and died of a stroke in the hospital several days later, and James was eventually sentenced to one year in prison. Although it is shocking that police found Ms. Brown in such a life-threatening and atrocious condition, it is almost equally shocking that nothing in Missouri’s elder abuse statutes would keep James from inheriting from his mother’s estate.

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Disincentivizing Elder Abuse Through Disinheritance

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