Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, October 31, 2016

Article on Elder Abuse Disinheritance Legislation

Elder abuse disinheritanceEmily Irwin recently published an Article entitled, Protecting Mamaw and Her Estate: Elder Abuse Disinheritance in Kentucky, 54 U. Louisville L. Rev. 307 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

In Kentucky, the state is gearing up for a “silver tsunami,” because it is projected that Kentucky residents, ages 60 and older, will make up one-fourth of Kentucky's population by 2030. Accordingly, Kentucky's elderly are faced with an increasing threat of elder abuse, as evidenced by the fact that investigations of elderly physical abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation have almost doubled since 2005. For example, a Louisville nonprofit organization, GuardiaCare, which often “serves as a court- appointed guardian for adults,” stated “there have been at least six instances in recent years [[where] GuardiaCare was appointed to take over after a relative was found to be abusing or defrauding an elderly person.” Yet, when the elderly victim died “the same adult child inherit[ed] the balance of the [victim's] estate.”

Elder abuse, particularly elder abuse that leads to abuser inheritance, is a growing concern due to an aging population and the increased likelihood that elders will be abused by a close relative or friend. Elder abuse disinheritance legislation is imperative, as it adequately reflects society's condemning view that elder abuse is so horrific that only an extreme penalty is appropriate. Accordingly, elder abuse disinheritance legislation seeks to satisfy society's goal of deterrence as well as moral condemnation. This note will first discuss the history of elder abuse law development. Next, it will examine the states that have adopted elder abuse statutes, focusing particularly on states that void gifts made to an abuser. The note will then analyze the differing statutes that have been enacted and discuss why Kentucky should become a leader in elder abuse disinheritance legislation by amending its current statute to expand its reach and serve as a deterrent to elder abuse.


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