I’m often asked about who has the standing to bring financial elder abuse actions. Under Code of Civil Procedure §367, “[e]very action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest, except as otherwise provided by statute.” If a person who lacks standing files an elder abuse claim, the claim may be subject to dismissal.
Oftentimes financial elder abuse cases raise complicated questions about who has standing to bring the cause of action. For example, the disputed property is often held in a trust. Other time’s the elder has died and the rules governing the survival of actions complicate issues.
When trust property is involved, it is the trustee who is the real party in interest with standing to bring an action. Saks v Damon Raike & Co. (1992) 7 CA4th 419. But oftentimes it is the successor trustee who is the perpetrator of the elder abuse and, of course, it does not make sense to sit around and wait for this person to bring an action against themselves. In these situations, courts will allow a beneficiary or even an “interested person” to bring an elder abuse action.