Exploitation of an elderly adult in Jacksonville, Florida is an all too often occurrence as well as across the entire state of Florida. Until recently, there was not much a person could do to stop it quickly when they suspected their elderly or vulnerable family member was being financially taken advantage of. This was a major problem. Before anything could be done to stop the exploitation, concrete evidence was required, and the money or asset that was taken, was too often unrecoverable by the time anything could actually be done. Thankfully, this is changing with the enactment of Florida Statute 825.1035.
Florida Statute 825.1035 allows for an injunction for the protection against the exploitation of an elderly adult or vulnerable adult. In order to get an injunction to stop the exploitation, the family member you believe is being financially exploited must be a vulnerable adult. In order to be considered a vulnerable adult for purposes of Florida Statute 825.1035, the individual must be 18 years or older, and be unable to perform normal activities required for daily living due to an impairment. The impairment can be because of a disability, injury, or aging. The Statute is meant to provide protection not only for elderly adults, but for any adult in Florida who could be financially taken advantage of due to any type of impairment.
Secondly, the acts of the person you believe is guilty of the exploitation of an elderly adult must meet the Florida Statutes definition of exploitation. There are five possible definitions listed under Florida Statute 825.103(1).
- Exploitation of an elderly adult can occur by someone who is trusted by or in a business relationship with the elderly adult, and uses the elderly adult’s funds or property with the intent of depriving the elderly adult of the use or benefit of their property.
- Exploitation occurs when someone knew or should have known the elderly adult lacked the necessary capacity to consent.
- Exploitation occurs when a fiduciary (trustee, power of attorney or guardian), sales or transfers the elderly adults assets/property without the required authorization.
- Exploitation of an elderly adult can occur when there is a joint bank account held by the elderly adult and another individual. For example, Mary, an 80-year-old woman, adds Jerry, a neighbor, to her bank account with the sole purpose of making it easier for Jerry to help Mary pay her bills each month. Jerry not only helps Mary pay her bills each month, but he also uses the bank account to pay his own bills and even transfer funds from the joint account to his personal account.
- Exploitation occurs when a caregiver or other person who is trusted by the elderly adult fails to use the elderly adult’s income and assets to provide the elderly adult with the necessary support they need.
Once these elements have been met, a temporary injunction of 15 days can be put in place without having to give the proposed exploiter notice.
If you believe your loved one is being exploited, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC who an a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you determine if an injunction is the appropriate action needed to protect your loved one. An experienced attorney can also help you establish a Florida estate plan (insert link) or guardianship (insert link) to prevent further exploitation. Once an injunction has been put in place, a hearing must be held within 15 days before any further action can occur.