By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Elder Abuse Attorney

A client suspects elder abuse in the case of her mother. She is 76, lives in New Jersey with her second husband (not the children’s father) and her health is declining. Each time the child(ren) call he says she is not well enough to speak to them. They (collectively) think he is isolating her and making it look like they don’t’ care about her so mom will cut them out of her estate. All her kids live out of state, in Seattle, Portland, and NYC. Being this far away, what can they do?

If the kids can’t come to visit or have a friend or relative do so, call Adult Protective Services (APS) (look up on-line your county APS number). They will investigate if any exploitation, elder abuse or neglect is occurring. If their fears are confirmed, they will contact their legal counsel or you can contact an Elder Abuse Attorney to determine what steps to take including getting a guardianship for the mother, or filing for a protective order.

Recognize though, that the mother is not legally required to leave the children anything in her estate, notwithstanding what she may have said previously. Nor are they entitled to see her estate planning documents. But since they suspect that they are going to be cut out of their inheritance as a result of undue influence, fraud or duress, the children should start documenting everything that occurs. Keep a list of phone calls they make, any information they can glean from neighbors, etc. The children may need this information if they decide to sue the estate in the future.

To discuss your NJ Elder Abuse & Will Contest matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.