Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

You can protect your elderly loved ones with this kind of injunction.  This is Florida’s newest law on injunctions and went into effect in 2019.  Here is a link to the law as it is currently written.

People sometimes take advantage of the vulnerable.  And that is a terrible thing.  That is one of the reasons this new law was enacted – to protect those who may not always be able to protect themselves.

As currently written, there are four different categories of petitioner (see below).  And that petitioner must show that there is exploitation OR an imminent danger of exploitation upon a vulnerable adult.

The following people may file for this type of injunction:

  1. A vulnerable adult in imminent danger of being exploited;
  2. The guardian of a vulnerable adult in imminent danger of being exploited;
  3. A person or organization acting on behalf of the vulnerable adult with the consent of the vulnerable adult or his or her guardian; or
  4. A person who simultaneously files a petition for determination of incapacity and appointment of an emergency temporary guardian with respect to the vulnerable adult.

How does a court determine if there is reasonable cause to believe a vulnerable adult in danger of exploitation (or is in imminent danger of becoming exploited)?  The court has to consider and evaluate all relevant factors, including the following:

  1. The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
  2. Any history of exploitation by the respondent upon the vulnerable adult in the petition or any other vulnerable adult.
  3. Any history of the vulnerable adult being previously exploited or unduly influenced.
  4. The capacity of the vulnerable adult to make decisions related to his or her finances and property.
  5. Susceptibility of the vulnerable adult to undue influence.
  6. Any criminal history of the respondent or previous probable cause findings by the adult protective services program, if known.

If you are a vulnerable adult (or know someone who is), give us a call to see if we can help.  We can be reached at 407-344-4837.

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