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Is there recourse for Elder Abuse after the elder has died?

San Luis Obispo, CA |

My stepfather suffered from Alzheimers and my mother abused him. I reported it to Pacer County APS but their "investigation" was a phone call to my mother who denied the abuse. When my stepfather became semi-incontinent my mother told me she was gong to stop giving him his heart/stroke medication. I faxed a letter to my stepfather's doctor, warning him of the abuse and my mother's plan to discontinue the medication. A week later the doctor's assistant called me and told me to report it to APS. I told her I had already with no results. My stepfather died 15 days later from a stroke. My mother had him cremated day following his death. Is there any recourse I can take?

Just to clarify...he died 15 days after I faxed the letter to the doctor and less than a week after the doctor's assitant called me.

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Filed under: Elder law Elder abuse
Attorney answers 2

Posted

If you believe you have evidence of a crime, it should be reported to the police. As you suggest in your question, it may be quite difficult to produce evidence since the body was cremated.

Drue Lyn Kirby

Drue Lyn Kirby

Posted

I agree. Call the police and if need be call the county prosecutor. many prosecutor's offices have elder abuse teams with attorneys, investigators and advocates. You should not let this go and shame on the doctor. I would also be concerned about your mother. Perhaps she has dementia of some sort or was overwelmed by her caretaking duties? She may need to see a doctor for her issues too. Elder abuse is common and should be taken very seriously good luck as this is a difficult situation.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for the response. My mother is quite a bit younger than my stepfather was. She doesn't have dementia but is extremely narcissitic and was overwhelmed by his dependence on her. I was not asking in terms of the crime...APS never did anything but make a phone call. I am wondering if there is some legal remedy for his suffering since he has already died. And if there is some culpability of the doctor for not reporting the abuse when he was notified. If he stepped in and administered the medication to my stepdad, his death could have likely been prevented.

Felicia Curran

Felicia Curran

Posted

The California Elder Abuse and Dependendent Adult Protection act provides for damages for a deceased elder's pre-death pain and suffering, payable to his estate and excluding the perpetrator. You have to prove your case by clear and convincing evidence, a strict level of proof.

Felicia Curran

Felicia Curran

Posted

The California Elder Abuse and Dependendent Adult Protection act provides for damages for a deceased elder's pre-death pain and suffering, payable to his estate and excluding the perpetrator. You have to prove your case by clear and convincing evidence, a strict level of proof.

Felicia Curran

Felicia Curran

Posted

The California Elder Abuse and Dependendent Adult Protection act provides for damages for a deceased elder's pre-death pain and suffering, payable to his estate and excluding the perpetrator. You have to prove your case by clear and convincing evidence, a strict level of proof.

Felicia Curran

Felicia Curran

Posted

The California Elder Abuse and Dependendent Adult Protection act provides for damages for a deceased elder's pre-death pain and suffering, payable to his estate and excluding the perpetrator. You have to prove your case by clear and convincing evidence, a strict level of proof.

Felicia Curran

Felicia Curran

Posted

The California Elder Abuse and Dependendent Adult Protection act provides for damages for a deceased elder's pre-death pain and suffering, payable to his estate and excluding the perpetrator. You have to prove your case by clear and convincing evidence, a strict level of proof.

Felicia Curran

Felicia Curran

Posted

The California Elder Abuse and Dependendent Adult Protection act provides for damages for a deceased elder's pre-death pain and suffering, payable to his estate and excluding the perpetrator. You have to prove your case by clear and convincing evidence, a strict level of proof.

Barbara Adler West

Barbara Adler West

Posted

Washington State also provides for an action against someone who abused a "vulnerable adult" during his lifetime. Washington now also excludes anyone from inheriting from the estate of a vulnerable adult if they are determined to have exploited or financially abused the decedent during his or her lifetime.

Posted

I agree with Mr. Mannor in both respects. If you have actual evidence to prove that your step-father's death was caused by something your mother either did, or failed to do, you should report it to the police. However, it does not sound like you have such evidence and any such allegations could result in your mother suing you for filing a false report.

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