Governor Brown Signs Bill to Protect Assets Of Elderly

SANTA CLARA (KCBS) — One of the dozens of bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown helps protect the assets of the elderly by closing an important loop hole and gives investigators more time to look into cases of fraud.

Under current law, assets placed in a trust instead of a will aren’t protected, leaving those assets susceptible to criminals and sometimes even family members of unsuspecting seniors.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) authored the bill since the growing trend among seniors is trusts instead of wills. He noted that county governments in California can protect bank accounts but not trust assets.

“People are losing their homes and valuables that they put in a trust knowing that when they do eventually pass. that the trust is an easier vehicle than often times a will. This is a new level of protection,” Gordon said.

Director of Santa Clara County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services, Lee Pullen, said those protection services were badly needed.

“In our work we kept running into stumbling blocks. The safeguards just weren’t enough. We weren’t able to go into the banks and just freeze the accounts to stop the loss in no more than 15 days,” Pullen said.

Pullen said they found themselves going back and forth trying to extend those loopholes adding that the court process can take months.

The new law also doubles the time for investigation from 15 to 30 days.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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