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Elder Exploitation in Florida

Florida’s Elder Exploitation Law

On October 1, 2014, Florida Statute 825.103, entitled “Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult” took effect.  This law makes it easier to prosecute people who prey on elders and the law increases penalties for crimes against elders.

How does the newly revised statute define exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult?

The revised statute focuses on financial exploitation of elderly and disabled adults. It targets people who use funds, assets, or property of elderly or disabled adults with the intent to deprive them of the use of those funds, assets or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult.

It also targets people who breach their fiduciary duties, misappropriate money, and fail to use an elderly person’s or disabled adult’s income and assets for the necessities required for that person’s support and maintenance.  Fiduciary duties can exist where a person, whether related or not to the elderly person, establishes a position of trust with an elderly person and then, using that position, misappropriates funds or property for themselves.

Who, specifically, can be held liable for elder exploitation under Florida Statute 825.103?

Florida Statute 825.103 applies to the following people:

  • Someone who stands in a position of trust with the elderly person or disabled adult
  • Someone who has a business relationship with the elderly person or disabled adult
  • Guardians
  • Trustees
  • Agents under a power of attorney
  • Caregivers

Are there any key presumptions written into the new law?

Yes.  There is now a permissive presumption of exploitation if there is a transfer of money or property over $10,000, by a person age 65 or older to a nonrelative whom the transferor knew for less than 2 years and for which the transferor did not receive the reasonably equivalent financial value in goods or services.

What are some of the increased penalties for elder exploitation?

If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation are valued at $50,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree.

If the value is $10,000 or more, but less than $50,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree.

If the value is less than $10,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree.

What should I do if I know someone who has been exploited?

If you know a victim of elder exploitation, please contact an elder law attorney who can help you with the case and effectively involve law enforcement and the Florida Department of Children and Families.

If you need help with an elder exploitation case, please contact Andrew D. Wheeler at (850) 837-3662.  We are here to help and to protect those who need it the most in their time of need.

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