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Newsroom Press Releases Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s Bill to Protect Senior Citizens Heads to Governor for Signature
Monday, August 13 2012

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s Bill to Protect Senior Citizens Heads to Governor for Signature

Sacramento, CA – AB 1624, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D–Los Angeles), an important measure to protect senior citizens and others from having their bank accounts drained, cleared its final legislative hurdle today, passing the State Assembly on concurrence by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 78-0. The bill now heads to the Governor.

The legislation clarifies that funds in bank accounts with more than one signer belong to each person based upon their contributions.  The bill was necessary after a divided California Court of Appeal stunned legal pundits when it held that whoever withdraws money first from a bank account becomes the owner of the funds.  That decision, in Lee v. Yang (2003) 111 Cal. App. 4th 481, was widely panned by senior advocates and the Conference of California Bar Associations as authorization to drain an unsuspecting senior citizen’s bank account.  

“This bill will ensure that senior citizens, the disabled, and others who entrust caregivers and family members with their finances do not find themselves to be penniless victims of a race to the bank,” commented Gatto. The bill has, therefore, received strong support from the California Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Conference of California Bar Associations, Executive Committee of the Trusts & Estates Section of the State Bar of California and the Professional Fiduciary Association of California Bar Association.

“We cannot continue to protect those who use positions of trust to legally victimize vulnerable Californians,” said Gatto. “I hope that Governor Brown will join me to reverse this ruling that has left thousands of Californians financially exposed.”

CONTACT: Justin Hager, (415) 889-9762

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