Worried Villagers concerned about finding next-of-kin for neighbors who die

Worried Villagers have expressed concern about tracking down next-of-kin when neighbors pass away or are suddenly in an emergency situation.

“We just want to know what we can do to help,” Jim Stickel of the Greenbriar Villas told Community Development District 4 supervisors on Friday at Savannah Center.

He pointed to the recent death of fellow Greenbriar Villas resident Barbara Mansman.

“One of the neighbors got into her house, found a Rolodex, you know the old-fashioned kind, and found a niece’s name. That’s how she found out,” Stickel said.

Abandoned homes can also be a problem after a neighbor dies. A deed compliance hearing about an abandoned property last week before the Village Center Community Development District Board of Supervisors, prompted several emails to Villages-News.com, asking what can be done in such situations. The deceased woman left no emergency contact information with The Villages.

Greenbriar Villas residents said they also are coping with an abandoned home in their community.

That home had belonged to Bob Coulter who died in 2014. According to Marion County Property Appraiser records, the home is still owned by Coulter’s estate.

“There are all kind of critters in there, but we really don’t know what is going on inside,” Stickel said.

The Villages District Office does not have any authority or responsibility to contact next-of-kin, said District Counsel Valerie Fuchs.

However, the District Office has launched an effort to update Villagers’ emergency contact information.

“The District is trying to be proactive and update emergency contact information,” said Carrie Duckett of the Villages Customer Service Department.

Emergency contact information is collected when Villagers purchase their home, Duckett said.

“But five, six, seven years down the road, that information may change,” she said.

Having an emergency contact number proved critical earlier this month when Community Watch was attempting to track down a Villager with dementia who had wandered all the way to Punta Gorda. Because that woman’s emergency contact was current and accessible at the District Office, she was located at a 7-Eleven and brought back home.

To update your contact information with the Villages District Office, click HERE

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