Florida Elder Exploitation, Neglect & Abuse Attorneys
Our Mission Is to Pursue Justice on Behalf of Clients
At Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A., we know that elder neglect, abuse, and exploitation is on the rise in nursing homes and senior care facilities, which is why we are committed to using our extensive legal knowledge to preserve and protect our clients' personal rights.
Our legal team has a breadth of experience and our attorneys come from varied backgrounds that make them extraordinarily well-suited to take on complicated legal matters. Our talented attorneys have backgrounds in estate planning, uncontested probate and guardianship, law enforcement, and guardianship advocacy, all of which play an important role in pursuing cases involving exploitation of the elderly.
How Is Elder Abuse Defined Under Florida Law?
Under F.S.§415.1111, "exploitation" of the elderly occurs when a person stands in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult and knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, a vulnerable adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to deprive a vulnerable adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property temporarily or permanently for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.
According to Florida Statute §415.1111:
- “A vulnerable adult who has been abused, neglected, or exploited as specified in this chapter has a cause of action against any perpetrator and may recover actual and punitive damages for such abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The action may be brought by the vulnerable adult, or that person's guardian, by a person or organization acting on behalf of the vulnerable adult with the consent of that person or that person's guardian, or by the personal representative of the estate of a deceased victim without regard to whether the cause of death resulted from the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.”
Exploitation also occurs if a person knows or should know that the vulnerable adult lacks the capacity to consent, and obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the vulnerable adult's funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the vulnerable adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.
Additionally, the statute defines “abuse” as any willful act or threatened act by a relative, caregiver, or household member which causes or is likely to cause significant impairment to a vulnerable adult's physical, mental, or emotional health. Abuse includes both acts and omissions.
Common Examples of Elder Financial Exploitation
- Breaches of fiduciary relationships, such as the misuse of a power of attorney or the abuse of guardianship duties, resulting in the unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property.
- Unauthorized taking of personal assets or using up funds meant for the elder's beneficiaries./
- Misappropriation, misuse, or transfer of funds belonging to a vulnerable adult from a personal or joint account.
- Intentional or negligent failure to effectively use a vulnerable adult's income and assets for the necessities required for that person's support and maintenance.
How to Spot the Signs of Elderly Exploitation & Financial Abuse
Elder financial abuse tends to correlate with isolation. Abusers are often in a position of trust, like a neighbor, a health care worker, or a distant relative. The following are common warning signs of abuse:
- A neighbor, caregiver, friend, or relative is trying to isolate the elder from other people and family members.
- Large cash withdrawals or transfers between bank accounts.
- Checks made payable to "cash" or cash withdrawals on deposit slips.
- Signatures on checks and documents that do not look like the elderly person's handwriting.
- The elder gives a neighbor, caregiver, friend, or relative signatory power on bank accounts "for convenience purposes.”
- Excessive "reimbursements" and extravagant purchases for caregivers.
- Significant changes in spending patterns and increased credit card charges.
- Changes to deeds or title for real property.
Any individual who suspects or witnesses abuse of an elder should report the abuse to Florida Adult Protective Services. Failing to do so can be considered a crime. Additionally, contacting an attorney can help hold the perpetrators legally accountable for the abuses they committed.
Ethical & Honest Legal Representation
Do not wait until it is too late, get in touch with our firm today if you are concerned that an elder in your life is being exploited. Our firm has been assisting clients throughout Florida since 2002 in a variety of disputes, and we are prepared to walk you through each phase of the legal process so you can pursue justice.
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Robert and his team are just outstanding in every way.- P.V.
Again, thanks to you and your firm for doing a great job for another of my clients.- L.D.