Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Book: "The Law of Financial Abuse and Exploitation"

In January, 2011, Katherine C. Pearson and Trisha E. Cowart, both associated with Penn State's Dickinson School of Law, released their new book entitled The Law of Financial Abuse and Exploitation, published by Bisel, Inc.

This 382-page softcover book is described on the website of its publisher (located in Philadelphia, PA), as follows:
"An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."
As the state with the third highest percentage of older adults, Pennsylvania is often the arena for financial abuse or exploitation. This timely new book presents the legal consequences of financial exploitation, both in criminal and civil terms.
By focusing on the law of exploitation, this essential guide will give those who assist older adults and dependent persons, including attorneys, courts, financial advisors, banks, social workers and families, clear guidelines for prevention of financial exploitation.
The step-by-step analysis of alternative remedies will be useful to legal advisors, whether in or outside of the Commonwealth, especially when pursuing a timely, full recovery.
Katherine provided a more personal synopsis in a letter that I received from her today, in reply to my inquiry about the new book.
While this is more than of a law book than a consumer book (and therefore has a state-specific format in our first edition), because of the regular questions that co-author Trisha and I receive about financial abuse, particularly in the context of older adults, we've tried to broaden the appeal.
We try to use "plain language" throughout the book, to make it more accessible than the traditional legal guide, while still being useful to practitioners and courts.
This is a summary of its chapters:
  1. The Public and Private Challenges of Financial Abuse
  2. The Role of Protective Service Authorities
  3. Criminal Causes of Action
  4. Civil Causes of Action 
  5. Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Laws 
  6. The Role of Filial Support Laws In Cases of Suspected Financial Abuse
  7. Reporting Suspected Financial Abuse: Mandatory Versus Voluntary Obligations
  8. The Importance of Attorneys As Counselors 
  9. The Importance of The Courts
The book also includes practice forms (like complaint forms and model court pleadings) in its Appendices, a Table of Cases cited within the book, and an index to its covered subjects.

The Law of Financial Abuse and Exploitation presents a reliable, organized, and straightforward explanation -- with practical guidance born of clinical experience -- of an evolving subset of elder law in Pennsylvania.  Those who would regulate elder abuse under existing laws, those who would seek remedy in the Orphans' Court Division for financial exploitation of a elderly person by a fiduciary, or those who strive to expand or reform laws on financial exploitation of the elderly, should read this book.