Maryland Intensifies Penalties for Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults
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Maryland Intensifies Penalties for Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults

Nov 8, 2010 | Criminal Law, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate

With the passage of House Bill 327, the Maryland General Assembly clarified and strengthened the consequences of a criminal conviction for exploiting a vulnerable adult or a person over the age of 68, as stated in Maryland Code Criminal Law Article §8-801.

Under the Maryland Criminal Law Article, a person who is convicted of exploiting a vulnerable or elderly adult is disqualified from inheriting or otherwise benefiting from the victim’s estate, insurance proceeds or property after that victim’s death. However, such disqualification will only occur if and to the extent that the convicted individual fails to return the property taken or fully restore its value to the vulnerable or elderly adult.

One of the most important features of this new law is that, in the event the property of the deceased vulnerable or elderly adult is erroneously distributed to the convicted individual, the rightful heir, legatee, or beneficiary now has the legal ability to sue the convicted individual for full restitution of the value of the erroneously distributed property.

Any trustee, personal representative, executor or other fiduciary who has erroneously, but in good faith and without actual knowledge of the conviction, distributed property to the convicted individual will not be held responsible for any such erroneous distribution.