At the end of last year, a Democratic candidate for Florida House District 67 settled a lawsuit claiming she had taken advantage of her mother’s deteriorating mental capacity to acquire her mother’s property.
Dawn Douglas is running against Republican incumbent Chris Latvala. The lawsuit, she said, stemmed from a heated dispute with her sister and was settled amicably among both parties by splitting the property, details of which Douglas preferred to keep private as it was a family matter.
Douglas’ sister, Denise Lute Ehrlich, filed suit against Douglas in Pinellas County Court last February as the attorney-in-fact on behalf of Douglas’ mother, Frances Marie Kotsch. An attorney-in-fact is someone who is not necessarily an attorney, but who has similar powers to that of a power of attorney.
The lawsuit claimed Douglas “induced Frances Marie Kotsch to purportedly execute” a Durable Power of Attorney and a Major Gifts Rider using forms she obtained from a website rather than going through her mother’s established attorney, John Pecarek.
“Defendant’s sole purpose in obtaining the Gifting POA was to enable her to transfer” her mother’s “property to herself,” the lawsuit claims.
“At the time Frances Marie Kotsch purportedly executed