Protecting Vulnerable Adults

Older adults and individuals with capacity limitations are at greater risk for financial and personal exploitation. The greatest risk to older adults can be from the caregivers who support them, and the vast majority of elder financial abuse cases come from the misuse of authority granted to an agent under a power of attorney or trust document. Our attorneys work with all individuals who are interested in the well‐being of an older or incapacitated adult to prevent and interrupt financial abuse.

Incompetency, Guardianship, and Involuntary Commitments

Van Winkle’s Trusts, Estates & Elder Law attorneys provide counsel and advocacy to individuals seeking guardianship for a vulnerable or incapacitated adult when plans are not in place to transfer decision‐ making, when conflicts arise within families about who should serve in this capacity, or when an appointed fiduciary fails to adequately fulfill his or her responsibilities. We advocate to enforce the rights of adults under a guardianship (including terminations of guardianships and restoration of capacity when appropriate), to enforce the rights of spouses and dependent children of incompetent individuals, and to support the stewardship of assets in the manner most advantageous to the incapacitated adult. In certain cases, involuntary commitment proceedings may also be appropriate, and we provide guidance and support for individuals initiating such proceedings.

Fiduciary Accounting and Removal Proceedings

When friends or family suspect an adult may be vulnerable to a fiduciary agent, such as an agent under a power of attorney or a trustee, we can intervene to help protect the vulnerable person’s assets or remove the agent or trustee. Our attorneys can also represent you or your family members in any other disputes relating to estates, trusts, and inheritance issues. We first seek to mediate differences to reach an amicable resolution, but we have a great depth of litigation experience if that becomes a necessary tool.