Task Force Initiatives

Task Force Initiatives

Below, you will see a sampling of issues that the Task Force work on monthly. To be updated on a regular basis, please consider contributing to the Task Force. You may contribute online by clicking here or click here to download a printable Contribution Form.

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** Meetings occur weekly on Thursday mornings from 8am to 9am.

Post Legislative Session – June 2019

1. RECAP OF THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE 2019 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
 
The Highs:
i. Electronic Legal Documents – E-wills and E-notarization has come to Florida. Governor DeSantis signed this into law on June 7, and the bill is now enacted as Chapter No. 2019-71, with an effective date of January 1, 2020 (New 732.522 – Method and place of execution of Wills is effective July 1, 2020).  Rather than stand on the sidelines, the Task Force enrolled the efforts of the Elder Law Section (“ELS”) and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (“AFELA”) to give meaningful review and input to improve a bill that was up for the third year. Special protections were added for vulnerable adults. In fact, all of the ELS’ Executive Committee’s top five requirements (Clerks of Court added as qualified custodians of the electronic record; uninterrupted a/v recording, and if it cannot be produced, the burden of proving the document shifts to the proponent of the document; superpowers under POA s. 709.2202(1) must be removed and not permitted in an electronic POA; vulnerable adult exclusion applies to wills and all documents signed by a vulnerable adult; and witnesses of electronic documents must be required to submit to Florida court jurisdiction) were addressed to Task Force and ELS satisfaction in the final version of the enacted bill. Florida is now the largest state to have enacted E-Wills and E-notarization legislation.
ii.  “Banker’s Bill” Blocked.  This bill would have shortened the time period for financial institutions to turn over non-probated small unclaimed deposits outside of the probate process.  This one is expected to be back in 2020.
iii. “Securities Dealers Bill” Stymied. Task Force and ELS strongly advocated against this legislation on grounds that it did not do enough to check rogue brokers who wrongfully refuse to timely transfer or release client funds under the guise of concern as to the client’s mental capacity.
The Lows:
 i.     Florida Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (“FGPPJA”) Died Due to RPPTL Dissent. Victoria Hueler and Debra Slater did a great job drafting and revising FGPPJA, and getting Uniform Law Commission input, to try to make Florida the 47th state to adopt a version of this uniform act. Kudos to House Sponsor Duggan of Jacksonville (R.), and Senate Sponsor Gruters of Sarasota (R.). Unfortunately, RPPTL wasn’t on the same page with ELS. This one will be back on our agenda in 2020.
ii.   No Retro Medicaid Reinstatement in 2019.  With a current 1115 Waiver from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), and a reported $100 Million in budget savings to the state of Florida, the Task Force was not able to get 3-month, or even a true 1-month, retroactive Medicaid eligibility coverage accomplished legislatively in 2019. Reportedly, the Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) will now be required by CMS to conduct public hearings and seek statewide input and comment. We all need to share with the Task Force our stories of how this is hurting our most vulnerable Floridians.
2. WHAT DO EXPECT FOR THE 2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
a.    Early Start Means Early Action Needed.  With a January-March 2020 Florida legislative session slated, early action is needed in June and July to prepare for the next round.
b.    Slayer Statute for Exploiters.  The proposed legislation which would bar exploiters of seniors and vulnerable adults from inheriting.
c.    Exploitation Injunction Glitch Bill.  Of particular concern is that the current statute does not expressly identify an agent under a DPOA as having the authority to file for injunctive relief for the vulnerable adult.
d.    Change in Definition of Joint Annuitant to Include Disabled Child’s d4a Trust.   Stay tuned, as new ELS-backed legislation may be coming on this.
3.  TRAVIS FINCHUM REPORT ON RPPTL CONFERENCE AT OPAL SANDS, JUNE 2019:
a.  RPPTL will have 2 new matters to propose this next legislative session – IRA’s for ex-spouses clarifying that IRAs are exempt from creditors if transferred per divorce. And an amendment to the Notice of Administration adding into NOA that recipient may be waiving right to contest a trust if terms of trust is within will.
b.    RPPTL will not push the rewrite of 745 this session and wants to work with ELS first to address any of their concerns and then get with other stakeholders like Florida State Guardianship Association (“FSGA”), the Clerks, and private groups.
c.    RPPTL was complimentary of ELS/AFELA/Task Force efforts to protect vulnerable adults in connection with the passage of the final version of HB/CS/CS 409, on E-Wills.
4.  AMICUS BRIEF FILED ON BEHALF OF AFELA:
AFELA filed an Amicus Brief, coordinated through Task Force, in an appeal to 5th DCA in Joan Newell vs. Department of Children and Families (Case No. 5D18-3084), supporting  DCF’s position that a Medicaid applicant’s conversion of cash into a security offered by Coastal Income Properties-Zachary Taylor, LLC, the fair market value of which could not be established on the open or secondary market, should result in imposition of a penalty against applicant’s eligibility for Medicaid benefits.
5. ELDERCARE COORDINATION/ELDERCARE MEDIATION:
The Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy is expected to propose eldercaring coordination legislation. A proposal is set to be submitted to the Office of Legislative Affairs of the Office of the State Courts Administrator by the end of July in order to request that the Florida Supreme Court put this legislation on its 2020 legislative agenda.
Our Task Force paid lobbyist, Brian Jogerst, really outdid himself this past session, with his determined and effective representation and lobbying. The Elder Law Bar is an increasingly respected resource by legislators and their staffs concerning issues impacting our elderly and disabled clients. Working with the Legislative Committee of the Elder Law Section, Task Force members gave their volunteer time and dollars to advocate for this year’s legislative priorities. Their appearances before legislative committees, often scheduled only a few days in advance, was critical to our success.
Our lobbyist’s fees and expenses are paid from your generous contributions to the Task Force. We could not achieve the success we have had in Tallahassee without your continuing support.