PRACTICE AREAS

Emotional Distress

Board Certified

in Geropsychology

One of the nation’s leading experts in the areas of forensic neuropsychology and geropsychology, Dr. Stacey Wood has vast experience as an expert witness in California and nationwide.

Years of Experience

Expert Analysis

Trials and Depositions

Board Certified

in Geropsychology

One of the nation’s leading experts in the areas of forensic neuropsychology and geropsychology, Dr. Stacey Wood has vast experience as an expert witness in California and nationwide.

Years of Experience

Expert Analysis

Trials and Depositions

Some of the most common symptoms after a financial setback are stress, anxiety, worry, rumination, and lack of sleep. Increased risk of suicide is also common after a financial setback. Fears of homelessness or living in diminished circumstances are also common resulting in decreases in quality of life. Victims may also may report feelings of anger, distrust and betrayal. Older adults in particular are vulnerable to these impacts as they often live on a fixed income, and do not have the means to recover.

Dr. Wood has interviewed hundreds of fraud victims throughout her career working with APS and can add that perspective to help the courts better understand the non-economic costs of fraud.

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Contact a proven emotional distress expert for your next case.

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Molly Mason Jones Professor of Psychology; Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Washington State and CA.

Phone: (909) 607-9505
Email: stacey.wood99@gmail.com
Curriculum Vitae: View Here
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Undue Influence in California: Extended Information

 

Generally, UI refers to a forceful dynamic between two individuals where one exerts “excessive persuasion” upon the other. This involves pressure on an individual that causes that person to act according to the wishes and for the benefit of the influencer, often in ways that oppose his or her own personal interests. This pressure can take place by way of harassment, threats, seclusion, or threats of isolation.

Frequently the influencer places him/herself between the individual and friends/loved ones. This makes the victim easier to coerce. Having the consultation of a reputable psychologist with “fraud in the family” experience can shed light on the matter.

 

Undue Influence California Law

 

Unfortunately, the impact of undue influence California usually expands beyond that of financial loss. The resultant stress and anxiety can trigger strong negative feelings like rage and despair. They can even take a physical and psychological toll on someone who was previously a strong and mentally healthy person.

The good news is, the 2014 clarifications of the Undue Influence law in Orange County and throughout California has considerably improved a petitioner’s capacity to build a winning case. Retaining a forensic psychologist with undue influence and capacity experience can further improve the odds of presenting a winning case.

 

California Probate Code 850

 

California Probate Code 850 is found in Division 2, Part 19 of the Probate Code regarding conveyance or transfer of property claimed to belong to the decedent or another person. It reads as follow:

(a) The following persons may file a petition requesting that the court make an order under this part:

(1) A guardian, conservator, or any claimant, in the following cases:

(A) Where the conservatee is bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property, executed by the conservatee while competent or executed by the conservatee’s predecessor in interest, and the contract is one that can be specifically enforced.

(B) Where the minor has succeeded to the interest of a person bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property, and the contract is one that can be specifically enforced.

(C) Where the guardian or conservator or the minor or conservatee is in possession of, or holds title to, real or personal property, and the property or some interest therein is claimed to belong to another.

(D) Where the minor or conservatee has a claim to real or personal property title to or possession of which is held by another.

(2) The personal representative or any interested person in any of the following cases:

(A) Where the decedent while living is bound by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property and dies before making the conveyance or transfer and the decedent, if living, could have been compelled to make the conveyance or transfer.

(B) Where the decedent while living binds himself or herself or his or her personal representative by a contract in writing to convey real property or to transfer personal property upon or after his or her death and the contract is one which can be specifically enforced.

(C)Where the decedent died in possession of, or holding title to, real or personal property, and the property or some interest therein is claimed to belong to another.

(D) Where the decedent died having a claim to real or personal property, title to or possession of which is held by another.

(3) The trustee or any interested person in any of the following cases:

(A) Where the trustee is in possession of, or holds title to, real or personal property, and the property, or some interest, is claimed to belong to another.

(B) Where the trustee has a claim to real or personal property, title to or possession of which is held by another.

(C) Where the property of the trust is claimed to be subject to a creditor of the settlor of the trust.

(b) The petition shall set forth facts upon which the claim is based.

(Added by Stats. 2001, Ch. 49, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2002.)

 

850 Petition in California

 

Although these terms have different meanings, one way to understand their variance is that competency to stand trial is determined by a judge, while insanity is determined by a jury.

Ruth Lee Johnson, J.D., writing for Psychology Today explains “Competency is determined by whether the defendant can understand the nature and consequences of the criminal proceedings against him. Specifically, the Supreme Court has held that the defendant must (1) have the sufficient present ability to consult with his or her lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding; and (2) he or she must have a rational as well as a factual understanding of the proceeding against him or her.

Meanwhile, the definition of insanity varies between states, and concerns the criminal acts allegedly committed by the defendant. (Read this blog post to learn about the different definitions of insanity.) For example, some states determine insanity by whether the defendant understood the nature and quality of his acts or did not know that his acts were wrong. Other states have different definitions. Some states do not have an insanity defense at all.”

Contact neuropsychologist and forensic expert Dr. Stacey Wood to better understand how she can help you and your client.

 

California Probate Code Section 86

 

Another important Undue Influence California code is Probate Code, Section 15800, which states:

Except to the extent that the trust instrument otherwise provides or where the joint action of the settlor and all beneficiaries is required, during the time that a trust is revocable and the person holding the power to revoke the trust is competent:

(a) The person holding the power to revoke, and not the beneficiary, has the rights afforded beneficiaries under this division.

(b) The duties of the trustee are owed to the person holding the power to revoke.

(Enacted by Stats. 1990, Ch. 79.)

 

California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.70

 

California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.70 was enacted by the California Legislature in 2013 and the text serves as the definition within the state to determine whether someone was unduly influenced.

(a) “Undue influence” means excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity. In determining whether a result was produced by undue influence, all of the following shall be considered:

(1) The vulnerability of the victim. Evidence of vulnerability may include, but is not limited to, incapacity, illness, disability, injury, age, education, impaired cognitive function, emotional distress, isolation, or dependency, and whether the influencer knew or should have known of the alleged victim’s vulnerability.

(2) The influencer’s apparent authority. Evidence of apparent authority may include, but is not limited to, status as a fiduciary, family member, care provider, health care professional, legal professional, spiritual adviser, expert, or other qualification.

(3) The actions or tactics used by the influencer. Evidence of actions or tactics used may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(A) Controlling necessaries of life, medication, the victim’s interactions with others, access to information, or sleep.

(B) Use of affection, intimidation, or coercion.

(C) Initiation of changes in personal or property rights, use of haste or secrecy in effecting those changes, effecting changes at inappropriate times and places, and claims of expertise in effecting changes.

(4) The equity of the result. Evidence of the equity of the result may include, but is not limited to, the economic consequences to the victim, any divergence from the victim’s prior intent or course of conduct or dealing, the relationship of the value conveyed to the value of any services or consideration received, or the appropriateness of the change in light of the length and nature of the relationship.

(b) Evidence of an inequitable result, without more, is not sufficient to prove undue influence.

(Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 668, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2014.)

Contact a reputable neuropsychologist to provide input and advice in a case where you question the vulnerability of the victim and the possibility of undue influence.

Contact Information

Dr. Stacey Wood, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology; Licensed Clinical Psychologist, CA.

Phone: (909) 607-9505
Email: stacey.wood99@gmail.com
Connect with Dr. Wood on LinkedIn

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