What to Do in a Florida Probate When a Family Member was Financially Exploited?
It’s terrifying when you suspect that someone in your family is the victim of financial exploitation. What happens when you confirm this fact after they pass away? You may be in the middle of a probate administration and suddenly become aware of how manipulated they were. That is when you need to contact an experienced Pompano Beach probate & trust litigation lawyer.
At Mark R. Manceri, P.A., we focus on probate litigation issues like this. We don’t handle regular probate administration or estate planning. We primarily represent clients for conflicts and disputes that arise concerning a will or trust. Sadly, financial exploitation takes place more frequently than you may realize. While this abuse sometimes occurs with outside influences, the bulk of elder financial abuse is committed by a family member or caretaker.
What is Elder Financial Abuse or Exploitation?
According to a MetLife study, senior citizens lose around $2.6 billion annually to financial abuse. About 55% of that financial exploitation is committed by family members, friends, and caregivers. The typical victim is usually between the ages of 70 and 89. They are often isolated and cognitively impaired in many cases. Risk factors include:
- Being female
- Low income
- Live with a large number of family members, but no spouse
- Low social support
There are some potential red flags you can watch out for. One is when a caregiver or a sibling starts demanding to be present when interacting with the family member. Monitor for sudden changes in their estate plan. If a family member is suddenly secretive about family members’ finances or lives with them and depends on the person for financial support, it could be something to monitor.
If it’s too late and your loved one has passed away, you need to contact a Florida probate litigation attorney right away. You only have a limited amount of time to preserve your right to challenge the estate and assert undue influence.
What is Undue Influence?
Undue influence can be defined as when someone close to the older person manipulates them or pressures them in a manner that has legal implications. Examples of undue influence would apply to drafting a will or entering into a contract. Undue influence is not limited to the elderly or those who cannot understand what’s going on. Anyone can unfortunately, become a victim of financial exploitation and undue influence.
Contact a Florida Probate and Trust Litigation Attorney
There may be other legal avenues of challenging the will as well. There is only a short window of time, which is why it’s imperative to contact our office right away. Don’t wait and try to collect evidence on your own. You don’t want to miss your deadline to bring forth a challenge.
If you suspect a family member was coerced into changing their estate plan documents, you need to call an attorney who focuses on Florida probate and trust litigation matters. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you protect your family member’s rights and assets.