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Elder Law

Laws Affecting Senior Citizens

The term "Elder Law" encompasses a variety of important legal issues pertaining to the aging and the elderly. This guide lists research materials in the Law Library and on the Internet that offer current, reliable information on the many aspects of Elder Law. Visit the Law Library; the reference librarians will be glad to help you get started in your research. You may also wish to consult the following Legal Resource Guides:


  1. Self-Help
  2. Practice Guides
  3. Statutes
  4. Websites
  5. Community Resources 


These books are highly regarded "plain English" explanations of the law, written by attorneys or other legal experts.  They include basic legal discussion and procedures, forms with instructions, and models of other documents that may be required. Many of the books have CDs that supplement the text and provide interactive forms. You can find all of these titles, unless indicated otherwise, in the Library's Self Help Collection.

Age Discrimination in Employment: What You Need to Know HD 6280 .A254 

Alive and Kicking: Legal Advice for Boomers KF 390 .A4 H44

The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can't  KF 3827.I5 K55  

California Manual of Policies and Procedures: Residential Facilities for the Elderly KFC 600 .A6R4 (General Collection)

Citizen's Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse HV 1450 .C68
Electronic Access:

The Complete Legal Guide to Senior Care KF 390 .A4 S46 

Grandparents' Rights:  Your Legal Right to Protect Your Relationship with Your Grandchildren  KF 547 .Z9 T78

Independent Living : A Look at the Issues  RA 644 .6 .I483  

Guide to Medicare Supplement Insurance KFC 591 .G85  

In-home Supportive Services: Nuts and Bolts KFC 111 .H35 .D57
Electronic Access

IHSS Fair Hearing & Self-Assessment Packet KFC 111 .H35 .I32
Electronic Access:

Long-term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It  RA 644 .5 .M38  

Outsmarting the Scam Artists: How to Protect Yourself from the Most Clever Cons KF 9365 .S42 

Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities: Your Practical Guide for Making the Right Decision  RA 997 .C6386  

Planning for Your Long-term Care: Your Resource Guide  RA 644 .5 .P63 
Electronic Access:

Preventing Elder Abuse: A Film about Abuse of the Elderly HV 1450 .L55 (SHAV)

Seniors' Rights: Your Legal Guide to Living Life to the Fullest   KF 390 .A4 S45 

A Small Claims Guide for California RCFE Residents: Using Small Claims Court to Enforce Resident Rights and to Recover Stolen or Lost Property in California Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly KFC 976 .S63 

You and Your Aging Parents: Guide to Legal, Financial, and Health Care Issues  KF 390.A4 Y675  


Although treatises and practice guides are written for attorneys, people representing themselves may also find these resources useful. These materials provide more detailed information than the self-help books.

Advising the Elderly or Disabled Client:  Legal, Health Care, Financial and Estate Planning  KF 390 .A4 F75
This manual is an overview of state and federal benefits and other relevant law for the attorney who wants to help elderly clients plan efficiently. Age Discrimination, Housing, Elder Abuse, Social Security, and Situational Incompetency are among the chapters. Appendixes include worksheets, sample documents, and state-by-state laws.

Assessment of Older Adults With Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Lawyers KF 390 .A4 A874
This book offers ideas and makes suggestions for attorneys who wish to balance the competing goals of autonomy and protection as they confront the difficult challenges of working with older adults with problems in decision-making capacity.
Electronic Access:  

Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Psychologists   KF 390 .A4 A87
Electronic Access:
This handbook is designed for psychologists evaluating civil capacities of older adults. 

California Elder Law Litigation: An Advocate's Guide   KFC 111 .A34 C34
This guide covers law practice in the areas of physical abuse, financial exploitation, and filing complaints against nursing homes. 
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.

California Elder Law: Resources, Benefits and Planning, an Advocate's Guide KFC 111 .A34 C35
The companion to the title above, this manual focuses on decision-making and transactions for benefits, finances, and health care decisions. This manual has excellent coverage of Medi-Cal benefits and processes.
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.

California Guide to Tax, Estate and Financial Planning for the Elderly  KFC 195 .A6 Z56
Includes chapters on income, gift and property taxes. Particularly strong chapters on Medi-Cal.

Capacity and Undue Influence: Assessing, Challenging and Defending:Here's How and When To Do It KFC 112 .A9 C36
Organized by steps in the process, beginning with proper determination procedures, understanding the law, and litigating undue influence.
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using ONLAW.

Elder Abuse Litigation KFC 111.A34 B35
This manual covers actions for civil damages based on elder abuse and neglect.
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext

Elderlaw: Advocacy for the Aging   KF 390 .A4 K7
This is similar in scope to Advising the Elderly or Disabled Client:  Legal, Health Care, Financial and Estate Planning. You may prefer the organization or style of one or the other. Check both to get maximum coverage of your issues.  

ElderLaw Forms Manual: Essential Documents for Representing the Older Client
KF 390 .A4 M27
Twenty chapters, divided into five parts: Managing the Elder Law Practice; Estate and Long-Term Care Planning; Powers of Attorney; Medical Directives and Wills; Trusts; and Miscellaneous, provide hundreds of sample letters and documents. 

ElderLaw Portfolio Series KF 390 .A4 E43
A practical manual covering legal and transactional aspects of taxes, Medicaid, trusts, financial planning, rights of long-term care facility residents, age discrimination, etc.

Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults in Guardianship Proceedings
This book contains practical tools to equip a wide audience of judges to conduct any form of guardianship proceeding more effectively. Includes links to expanded information, work sheets, and model forms.
Electronic Access Only:

Medical-legal Aspects of Long-term Care  KF 3826 .N8 M43  
Designed as a reference source for attorney and lay persons interested in the topic of neglect and abuse in nursing homes, the authors' goal is to provide a framework for understanding the basic medical aspects of nursing home care, and when a poor outcome is the result of negligence on the part of the caregiving facility and/or the facility's personnel. 

Representing The Elderly Or Disabled Client : Forms And Checklists With Commentary KF 390 .A4 B442
Includes checklists and sample questionnaires for client interviews dealing with all aspects of elder law, sample client correspondence, and sample forms.  

Tax, Estate & Financial Planning for the Elderly  KF 750 .R45
This title offers guidance through the myriad regulations, forms, and agencies encountered in an elder law practice. Expert commentary offers easy-to-find, easy-to-understand answers to common elder law questions, and practice notes highlight key practice tips. Convenient cross-references to Tax, Estate & Financial Planning for the Elderly: Forms & Practice, the companion forms set, lead to sample forms and checklists for every practice need.

Tax, Estate & Financial Planning for the Elderly: Forms and Practice   KF 750 .R454
The companion set to Tax, Estate & Financial Planning for the Elderly, above.


California law addresses elder law issues primarily, but not exclusively, in the Family Code, the Probate Code, and the Welfare and Institutions Code. Here is a small selection:

Civil Code § 1575 defines undue influence.

Family Code § 3102 addresses visitation of grandchildren.

Penal Code § 368 makes special provisions for crimes against the elderly.

Probate Code § 4400 et seq. addresses powers of attorney; § 4670 et seq. advance health care directives; and § 15000 et seq. trust creation and administration.

Welfare and Institutions Code § 15600 et seq. contains the California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA). 

The current un-annotated (just the statutes without editorial analysis by the publishers) codes are online at Mark the box next to the title you are interested in, e.g., "Probate Code" and click on "Search" for a hyper-linked table of contents.  Alternatively, use the print annotated code volumes on the shelf at the Law Library:

Deering's California Code Annotated KFC 30 .5 .D4 P76 (Compact)

West's Annotated California Codes KFC 30 .W48 P76 


Fortunately, many highly regarded Internet sources exist for current, reliable information on elder law issues. Here are a select few to get you started:

AARP:  American Association of Retired Persons
Sections titled Health, Money, and Politics contain links to articles on various legal matters.

American Bar Association, Commission on Law and Aging:
Click on "Resources," then "Links of Interest" to find authoritative information, free to the public, on a variety of legal issues affecting seniors.

AOA - Administration on Aging:
The Department of Health and Human Services' AOA is the federal government agency for elder issues. The website will link you to pertinent laws and other useful information.

California Bar Association: 
Click on "Public," then click on the icon for "Seniors & the Law: A Guide for Maturing Californians," for a guide to a number of issues confronting seniors that you can choose to read in English or Spanish. 


Adult Protective Services
4875 Broadway 916-874-9377
APS investigates reports of elderly and dependent adults in danger due to abuse, neglect, exploitation, or hazardous or unsafe living conditions. Additionally, APS provides referrals for other county and community services, and can serve as an advocate for elderly and dependent adults in situations with landlords, doctors, hospitals, and other social services.

Area 4 on Aging  
This regional agency, headquartered in Sacramento, plans and coordinates all kinds of programs and services for older people. 

California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform:
Since 1983, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), a statewide nonprofit 501(c) (3) advocacy organization, has been dedicated to improving the choices, care, and quality of life for California's long term care consumers. 

California Department of Aging
This agency administers programs that serve older adults, adults with disabilities, family caregivers, and residents in long-term care facilities.  

Disability Rights California
916-488-9950,  800-776-5746,  1-800-719-5798 (TTY)  
Provides legal services to people with developmental, mental or other disabilities, including: Information, referral, technical assistance, investigation of abuse/neglect, and direct legal representation in administrative and judicial proceedings to establish and enforce disability-related legal and service rights. 

Resources for Independent Living
420 I Street, Suite 3 916-446-3074
RIL helps people with disabilities with a variety of services, including mediation, housing assistance, screening and placement of attendants, peer counseling, and  independent  living skills training. 

Senior Legal Hotline
This organization serves Sacramento County residents, offering free legal advice on many legal problems confronted by those aged 60 or over. 

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Elder and Health Law Clinic
Intake Line: (916) 340-6080. Certified law students provide legal advice and undertake representation of individuals 60 and older in the greater Sacramento area. Priority cases include nursing home residents' rights, Medicare, SSI, health care access, housing, elder abuse, creditor/debtor disputes, powers of attorney, advance health care directives, and simple estate planning tools.   


Revised 2/2013 kb