Exploitative Niece Forces Court-Run Conservatorship For Uncle
October 17, 2012
The elderly are an important part of society. With their experience and knowledge, they play an integral part in preparing the next generation for what lies ahead. That can make it seem particularly unfortunate when the elderly in Florida are abused and taken advantage of. This may have been the case with one 76-year-old man and his niece, who is being accused of exploiting her elderly uncle for financial gain. This caused the courts to put the elderly man under a conservatorship for his own protection.
The niece is being accused of deceptively transferring $1 million in real estate from her uncle into her own name. In early October a court concluded that she had ‘unduly influenced’ her elderly relative. When the uncle began to lose his cognitive abilities, those who knew the man became concerned and contacted Adult Protective Services. When the transfer of five properties to the niece was discovered, the court immediately created a conservatorship for the elderly man.
As a result of the court ruling, the niece was ordered to give up her claim on the five pieces of real estate. She was also ordered to pay $315,000 in attorney fees related to the lawsuit against her. These funds are set to go to a court-managed conservatorship designed to make financial decisions on the elderly man’s behalf. The niece is currently appealing the ruling, claiming a variety of mistakes made by the trial court.
Most people in Florida wish to be in control of their own assets as much as possible. Therefore, they will more than likely want to avoid a conservatorship, which can become necessary when the person has failed to do sufficient estate planning and then becomes incapacitated in some way. With a will or a living trust, an elderly person will be able to choose who will be in charge of his or her assets in the case of being found incompetent. The senior person will also be able to specify in what manner he or she would like the assets managed.