Florida Senate Introduces Bill To Protect Elder Abuse Victims From Creditor Harassment
Debt collection communications can stress you out at any stage of your life. If you are in a strong enough financial position that you are talking to an estate planning lawyer about placing your assets in a trust so that creditors cannot get them, or even spending down your assets in order to qualify for Medicaid for nursing home care, consider yourself lucky. Some people, even seniors, have debt collectors trying to pay up immediately. When you are working and living paycheck to paycheck, you are always trying to pick up one additional gig to stay a step ahead of the creditors and collection agencies. If you are on a fixed income because you have retired or left the workforce because of a chronic health condition, then you may simply respond to the endless stream of collection notices with resignation and despair. It is not just your imagination if you think that it is not your fault that you incurred the debts and that it is not fair to make you pay them. At least a few Florida lawmakers agree with you. A bill proposed in the Florida Senate would protect victims of elder abuse from efforts to collect the debts they incurred as a direct result of that abuse. An Orlando estate planning lawyer can help you protect yourself and your elderly family members from financial abuse.
How Senate Bill 128 Protects Seniors
Senate Bill 128, which the Florida Senate is currently considering, offers protections for people who have incurred debts because of certain adverse circumstances outside their control. Specifically, it protects the following groups of vulnerable people:
- Victims of identity theft
- Young adults who have aged out of the foster care system
- Survivors of human trafficking
- Elderly people who have suffered financial abuse
If SB 128 becomes law, it will enable the courts to order creditors not to attempt to collect debts from elderly debtors when those debtors incurred those debts as a result of financial abuse, such as when a family member, caregiver, or scammer pressures or deceives the victim into taking out a loan for the abuser’s benefit. To access this protection, the victim or a person with a fiduciary duty to the victim would need to submit an affidavit to the court describing how the victim only incurred the debt because of the abuse. If the court accepts the statements in the affidavit, then it would order the creditor not to contact the victim about the debt for two years. If a person named in the affidavit had been convicted of elder abuse or a related crime, then the court would permanently bar the creditor from collecting the debt.
Contact Gierach and Gierach About Debt Collection in the Short Term and Long Term
An estate planning lawyer can help you and the eventual personal representative of your estate avoid nuisance debt collection notices and creditor harassment. Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.