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Elder Law


Logo of the California Department of Social ServicesEven though there is a decent bit of federal regulation concerning broad elder laws, some elder law is governed by states.  In California, some of these laws (the ones relating to public benefits that elders may be eligible to receive) are regulated by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).  Health laws pertaining to elders are regulated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).  Elder abuse laws are mostly regulated by the California Department of Justice, which also has a special Division of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse.  There are even more elder laws regulated by other departments, but these are the main agencies that would handle elder law issues.


California has a fairly robust elder protection system compared to many states, and some of the main California elder laws are outlined below:

Penal Code Section 368 is the main law in California that criminally targets elder abuse.  It applies to individuals 65 or older and encompasses physical, financial, and emotional forms of elder abuse.  It provides for fines and potential imprisonment, and it also authorizes the court to issue elder abuse restraining orders.  Public access to the law is linked above, and it can also be found on Lexis and Westlaw.

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act is the main California civil law for elder protection.  This Act created a mandated reporter system, which mandates certain individuals and entities to report any type (physical, financial, or emotional) of alleged or suspected elder abuse.  Some of the mandated reporters, like banks, are rarely held liable because of a lack of a private right of action, but other individuals have been held civilly liable for failure to report elder abuse, especially physical abuse.  Public access to the Act is linked above, and it can also be found on Lexis and Westlaw.

Civil Code Section 3345 furthers this civil protection by allowing a court to award enhanced (treble) damages when a case of financial elder abuse was a larger scheme and where there were deceptive and unfair practices involved.  Public access to this law is linked above, and it can also be found on Lexis and Westlaw.

Other California state health laws can be found by searching the California Code.  Most will be found in the Welfare & Institutions Code, the Health & Safety Code, the Penal Code, or the Probate Code.  Public access to the Code is linked above, and it can also be found on Lexis and Westlaw.


Most California elder law regulations can be found in either Title 17 (Public Health), Title 22 (Social Security), or Title 28 (Managed Healthcare) of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).  Public access to the Titles are linked above, and the CCR is also available on Lexis and Westlaw.

Other States

Westlaw has a 50 State Statutory Survey on Physical and Financial Abuse of the Elderly.

Lexis has a 50 State Statute & Regulation Survey on Adult Protection and Reporting, as well as one on Assisted Living/ Residential Care.

You can also search the Code of any state with keywords like "elder" and "elder abuse" or more specific terms based on your research topic.