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Florida Probate Blog

Posts Tagged: elder abuse

Exploitation of the Elderly

Written by on Nov 12, 2009| Posted in: General

Elders and Vulnerable Adults Frequently Get Taken For a Ride According to some recent statistical surveys, there will be 71.5 million people living in the United States who are over 65 years of age by the year 2030.  With the increase in the number of elderly persons moving to Florida, there will of course be a proportional number of those living here who have cognitive disabilities.  These seniors are frequently vulnerable targets of exploitation. Florida has taken steps to increase the protections of our vulnerable adults through enacting the abuse of the elderly statute.  The Florida Exploitation of Elderly Statute, codified at Fla.Stat. §415.1111 et seq. imposes civil penalties on persons who exploit a vulnerable adult in Florida.  These civil actions against exploiters have teeth—as the statute allows actual and punitive damages by a victim and the prevailing party can also recover attorney fees and costs.  Also, the statute is […]

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Elder Abuse is a Family Issue

Written by on Aug 26, 2009| Posted in: Estate Litigation

In cases where there are allegations that a will signature was forged, it is helpful to engage the expertise of a forensic handwriting expert to examine the original document; however courts sometimes disregard dueling handwriting experts as hired guns who will testify predictably in favor of their client’s position.

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Undue Influence Florida

Written by on Sep 26, 2008| Posted in: Estate Litigation

UNDUE INFLUENCE FLORIDA Do I have a Case?  What Evidence Points to the Conclusion of Undue Influence? (Part One) If I had a nickel for each time a potential client or a referring probate administration attorney asked me this question, I’d retire today. The answer, of course, depends upon a careful examination of each individual case, and frequently the successful resolution of a probate dispute hinges upon the discovery of evidence (often medical and financial records) produced after a lawsuit has commenced. Generally, there are certain categories of evidence that I look for in order to prove undue influence and then the case develops and follows the facts that are discovered. Undue influence has been defined by Florida courts as conduct amounting to overpersuasion, duress, force, coercion, or artful or fraudulent contrivances to such a degree that the free agency and will power of the testator is destroyed. In re […]

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Undue Influence and Trust Revocation

Written by on Sep 25, 2008| Posted in: Trust Litigation

Is Florida legislation needed to address the presence of undue influence in trust revocation situations involving vulnerable elderly adults? It is no secret that Florida is home to a geriatric population, many of whom are vulnerable to exploitation due to the infirmities of age and diminished mental capacity.  A recent study discovered that the prevalence of dementia is estimated to double every five years in the elderly, growing from a disorder that affects 1 percent of persons 60 years old to a condition afflicting approximately 30 percent to 45 percent of persons 85 years old.[1] Many Floridians who have revocable trusts as an aspect of their estate planning are susceptible to what I consider to be an area of concern as to the existing status of the law as it stands in Florida.  Specifically, I am concerned that existing decisional case law in Florida allows for persons, whose capacity to […]

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