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New Florida Senate Bill To Protect Elder Abuse Victims From Creditor Harassment

Communication with debt collectors is extremely stressful no matter what stage of life you’re in. Only a lucky few are in a strong enough financial position that they can consult with an estate planning lawyer about their assets, and place their assets in a trust in order to protect it from creditors. Even if you’re able to start spending down your assets so that you can qualify for Medicaid to provide nursing home care, it’s still a better situation than many. Unfortunately, certain people- even seniors- have debt collectors knocking down their doors and trying to get them to immediately pony up the money. When someone is working hard and living paycheck to paycheck, they are always in need of one additional gig to stay a step ahead of collection agencies and creditors. 

If you have left the workforce due to a chronic health condition, or currently live on a fixed income after retirement, then you may feel despair and resignation at the endless stream of collection notices coming your way. However, at least a couple of Florida lawmakers agree that sometimes it’s not a person’s fault that they incurred debts that ended up snowballing, and that it’s not fair to make certain people pay debts right away. A recent bill has been proposed in the Florida Senate that aims to safeguard victims of elder abuse from excessive efforts to collect the debts they find themselves having to deal with as a result of the abuse. Working with a trusted Florida estate planning lawyer can help you protect your elderly family members and yourself from this kind of financial abuse. 

Senate Bill 128 Aims To Protect Seniors

The Florida Senate is currently considering the recently proposed Senate Bill 128, which provides protections for people who have incurred debts due to certain adverse circumstances deemed to be outside of their control. It is specifically geared to protect the groups of vulnerable people listed below:

  • Young adults who have aged out of the foster care system
  • Victims of identity theft
  • Elderly people who are victims of financial abuse
  • Survivors of human trafficking

If SB 128 is passed in the Senate, then courts will be able to order creditors not to try and collect debts from elderly debtors if those debtors had incurred those debts as a direct result of financial abuse. Financial abuse includes when a caregiver, family member, or scammer forces or tricks the victim into taking a loan out to benefit the abuser. The victim or a person holding a fiduciary duty to the victim must submit to the court an affidavit that describes the way the victim incurred the debt, and how it was due to the abuse, in order for the victim to access the protection. If the statements in the affidavit are accepted by the court, then the creditor would be ordered to not contact the victim about the debt for two years. If the abuser named in the affidavit had been convicted of the crime of elder abuse or a similar crime, then the creditor would be permanently barred from collecting the debt. 

Contact Us Today

Consult with an estate planning lawyer to avoid creditor harassment and nuisance debt collector notices. Call BCN Law Firm to discuss your case today.