In California probate and elder abuse law, individuals have special protections from those who are considered “care custodians”.
This is because many individuals have been taken advantage of by a care custodian. Especially in situations where the care recipient was elderly, disabled, had diminished mental capacity, or otherwise was vulnerable.
Care Custodians Can Exert Undue Influence
Some cases have emerged where a care custodian exerted “undue influence” over a care recipient in order to receive a substantial portion of their estate.
However, laws automatically protect dependent adults and their beneficiaries if a care provider is given an inheritance, gift, or property transfer within 90 days before or after the last time they provided care.
Therefore, knowing the definition of a “care custodian” in California can have an impact on your probate or inheritance case. Speak with a San Luis Obispo probate lawyer to learn more about how the law affects your specific situation. Call the Ernst Law Group today at (805) 678-0272, or contact us online, and you can schedule a free, no-obligation case review with a knowledgeable attorney near you.
The Legal Definition of Care Custodian in California
California Probate Code § 21362 defines “care custodian” as follows:
(a) “Care custodian” means a person who provides health or social services to a dependent adult, except that “care custodian” does not include a person who provided services without remuneration if the person had a personal relationship with the dependent adult
(1) at least 90 days before providing those services,
(2) at least six months before the dependent adult’s death, and
(3) before the dependent adult was admitted to hospice care, if the dependent adult was admitted to hospice care.
As used in this subdivision, “remuneration” does not include the donative transfer at issue under this chapter or the reimbursement of expenses.
(b) For the purposes of this section, “health and social services” means services provided to a dependent adult because of the person’s dependent condition, including, but not limited to, the administration of medicine, medical testing, wound care, assistance with hygiene, companionship, housekeeping, shopping, cooking, and assistance with finances.
In effect, anyone who provides professional services to assist a “dependent adult” could be considered a care custodian. So can anyone who provided assistance on an unpaid or informal basis, as long as they did not have a personal relationship with the care recipient in question within a certain time period.
As mentioned in subsection (b), “health or social services” can encompass a broad range of types of care, including, “administration of medicine, medical testing, wound care, assistance with hygiene, companionship, housekeeping, shopping, cooking, and assistance with finances.”
In effect, anyone who did not have a personal relationship with someone at least 90 days before providing care and six months before their death could be considered a care custodian if they offered any sort of assistance, supervision, comfort, or service to the dependent adult in question.
Why Does It Matter If Someone Was a Care Custodian?
The law protects individuals from the undue influence exerted by people in a position of power over a dependent adult. This includes care providers.
California Probate Code § 21380, for instance, makes it so that any inheritance, gift, or property transfer given to a care custodian may be automatically considered the product of undue influence. Individuals who have a property transfer scrutinized must then attempt to disprove the alleged undue influence.
Family members who suspect their loved one was the victim of undue influence should examine the definition of care custodian. If the person suspected of manipulating their loved one can fit the definition, concerned family members may have grounds to contest the will, trust, or other type of property transfer instrument.
The Ernst Law Group can assist you if you think someone was unduly influenced or that you could be accused of undue influence. Call an experienced probate attorney in San Luis Obispo to discuss your case and what legal strategies you have available during an absolutely free appointment. To schedule your free case review, simply call (805) 678-0272, or contact us online now.