On June 6, 2020, West Virginia’s law protecting elder and dependent adults from financial exploitation became effective. West Virginia is the 29th state to employ such legislation. The new law, codified as W. Va. Code § 32-6-601, expressly requires broker-dealers and state-registered investment advisers to report suspected financial abuse. Civil and administrative immunity is provided to firms that report in good faith. Firms are also allowed, but not required, to contact third parties reasonably associated with the eligible adult if they suspect financial exploitation. Consistent with legislation enacted in other jurisdictions, West Virginia’s statute permits broker-dealers and state-registered investment advisers to delay disbursements or transactions from an account owned by an eligible adult if certain conditions are met. Entities that take action pursuant to these provisions in good faith and with reasonable care are granted civil immunity.
Further detail regarding the statute can be found in Bressler’s interactive Senior and Vulnerable Investor Issues Map.