The sun and sand draw thousands of visitors to the State of Florida … and many of them stay. In fact, the number who stay has made Florida one of seven states with a median population above the age of 40. Although this change is generally due to young people on the move, in Florida it is due to older people coming in and not moving. As the older population grows older, so does the need for medical facilities as well as the need for laws that cover elder guardianship abuse to protect older citizens who sometimes cannot care for themselves.
In 2015, Florida overhauled its rules for elder guardianship in response to criticism that the courts in charge of dealing with degrees of elder guardianship abuse and mismanagement were overworked and under refunded. Although most guardians of the elderly are viewed as able and willing, some appointed guardians of the elderly cause serious problems.
The new statutes concerning elder guardianship are intended to punish “abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult.” They include:
Third degree felony. Abuse without causing great bodily harm; battery; willful torture
Second degree felony. Repeated conduct or one physical incident or omission that causes risk of death or serious injury, physical or psychological
First degree felony. Caregiver’s failure to provide essentials for both physical and mental health, such as food, shelter, and medical services
Changes in the elder guardianship law also include:
Someone who is designated as guardian for the elderly person will be charged if he or she wastes or intentionally mismanages the elder’s assets.
A person who believes any elder is being abused must report to the hot-line in the Dept. of Children and Families.
If the elderly person cannot express his or her preference for a guardian, the court must at least consider a preference from the next of kin.
If it becomes necessary to appoint a professional guardian for the elderly person, he or she cannot be named a permanent unless the next of kin requests it or some special skills make that person necessary.
If you have any concerns that involve elder guardianship abuse, contact felintonlaw.com today. We are well experienced in both estate and trust law and in all concerns that may involve the elderly and those who care for them. Contact us for a consultation because we know the laws and we can help.