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Protect Your Vulnerable Parents & Their Home

Protect Your Vulnerable Parents & Their Home

Scams and fraud have been on the rise since COVID began in March 2020.  Homes have been one of the biggest targets of scams.  Victims include older adults, young adults with disabilities, and people of any age with compromised cognitive state.  Thankfully, the Broward County Property Appraiser has a program called ‘Owner Alert’ to help protect your home and notify you if the Property Appraiser’s office receives anything that looks suspicious.  I encourage you to visit www.BCPA.net  and sign up for Owner Alert.

​If you are serving as a fiduciary under a Durable Power of Attorney for a vulnerable adult, you may want to record the original Durable Power of Attorney and forward a copy to the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office so that in the event the homeowner is the victim of a scam the Property Appraiser will be alerted and report it to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

​What can you do if you discover that your family member or friend is currently the victim of a scam, abuse, or financial exploitation?  Seek the guidance of an attorney who has guardianship experience as well as experience obtaining an injunction since it may be necessary to petition a Court for an emergency temporary guardian to be appointed for the vulnerable adult.  Florida has a specific legal process to obtain an injunction (Court order) to protect a vulnerable adult.  The injunction can protect the vulnerable adult by:

  • prohibiting the homestead from being sold;
  • freeze other assets such as bank accounts and investments;
  • prohibit the alleged perpetrator from having contact with the vulnerable adult (i.e.restraining order); and
  • other types of relief.

Once the Court signs the Order Granting the Injunction, a copy will be served by the Sheriff’s Office on the perpetrator.  You will want to file a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office, which will then refer the matter to the State Attorney’s Office for Prosecution.  If you have been appointed Emergency Temporary Guardian or permanent Guardian, you will need to retain litigation counsel to bring suit against the alleged perpetrator based on a theory of undue influence or fraud in order to recover ownership of the homestead property.  Time is very important, so don’t delay!

​I look forward to consulting with you to protect your loved one and their assets.

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