Apr 17

Florida Probate Rules Committee Vulnerable Adult Rule

Florida Beach Sunset

The Florida Probate Rules Committee was tasked with the creation of forms for Florida’s law that protects vulnerable adults from exploitation. Section 825.1035 now permits an injunction to protect our state’s most vulnerable residents from various types of exploitation. The statute offers a civil remedy to stop financial or physical abuse by freezing financial accounts and allowing for an injunction to keep the exploiter away from the vulnerable adult. Although the statute initially provided a form, the Florida Supreme Court asked the rules committees to develop a standard form for use throughout the state.

The Probate Rules Committee took on the challenge, drafted a rule and considered comments to improve the proposed form. It appeared that various circuits throughout the state were suggesting or requiring forms that were not the same as the form in the statue. The Probate Rules Committee received one comment suggesting that some petitions that complied with the form in the statute were being dismissed for not complying with the statute.

The usual rule process was followed – a petition was filed, comments were requested, and then the final version of the new rule was published for final comments. Comments were due by April 15th. No comments have been received by the Probate Rules Committee, so it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will enter an order making the proposal final. On occasion, the Florida Supreme will modify a submission from one of the rules committee, so it’s not over until the Florida Supreme Court says so.

Here’s a link to the new Rule 5.920:

https://efactssc-public.flcourts.org/casedocuments/2020/21/2020-21_petition_74875_appendix2drules.pdf

Hopefully the new rule will offer consistency and protection for our vulnerable adults who become victims to those who would prey on the elderly and disabled.