Florida Legislators Propose Bill That Would Mitigate Financial Losses Caused By Elder Abuse
A common piece of advice to clients seeking legal services is that they should avoid firms that practice “door law,” meaning that they agree to represent everyone who walks through the door, regardless of the legal matter with which they need help; instead, it is best to choose a lawyer who focuses on cases of a certain type, because this guarantees that your lawyer will have up to date information on the laws and issues related to your case. If you want to write your will, set up a revocable trust, or represent a recently deceased family member’s estate during probate, you go to an estate planning lawyer, but if you are trying to recover damages after buying a car that turned out to be a lemon or if you are trying to get creditors to stop harassing you, you need a consumer law attorney. Florida’s legislators are currently considering a bill that relates both to the practice areas of elder law and consumer law, because it aims to protect seniors who have been targets of elder abuse from aggressive measures by creditors to collect debts that resulted from this abuse. The bill has yet to become law, but plenty of Florida seniors are struggling with debts that someone in their life pressured or defrauded them into taking on. A Tampa estate planning attorney can help you protect yourself and your family members from financial abuse.
Senate Bill 128 Would Protect Seniors From Creditors Attempting to Collect Debts Arising From Financial Abuse of the Elderly
The Florida Senate is currently considering Senate Bill 128, a bill to protect consumers from debt collection actions by creditors on debts that the consumers incurred because of adverse circumstances outside their control. The consumers protected by SB 128 include victims of identity theft, human trafficking, and elder abuse, as well as young people who incurred debts while in foster care or shortly after aging out of the foster care system.
As for survivors of elder abuse, SB 128 would give them the right to submit an affidavit to the court, attached to a request to pause collection efforts on the debt. If the elderly victim was in poor health and unable to write an affidavit on his or her own behalf, then a person with a fiduciary duty to the victim can submit the affidavit on the victim’s behalf. The affidavit would be sufficient to get the court to order the creditor to stop collection efforts for two years. If the abuser had received a criminal conviction for elder abuse, then the court would order the creditor to permanently cease attempts to collect the debt.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Preventing Elder Abuse
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you make a realistic estate plan that will prevent elder abuse and mitigate the effects of financial abuse if any has already occurred. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.