UNPERFORMED AGREEMENT TO SELL REAL PROPERTY IS A TAKING UNDER THE FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE ACT
A real estate agent had negotiated a four-page letter of intent for the purchase of property from an elderly lady in her late 80’s to a buyer. The buyer persuaded the elderly lady to execute the letter of intent and a few days later the real estate agent and buyer had her execute two sets of escrow instructions, even though no purchase contract had been signed by her. Later, she consulted an attorney who terminated the escrow for the property, in part because the terms of the letter of intent were not fair. The buyer filed suit and the court sided with the elderly lady because the Elder Abuse Act provides that financial elder abuse occurs when a person “takes” or “assists in the taking” of real property of an elder for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud.