Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Legal bleg

It seems my older brother has"captured" Mom and put her into an assisted living center in Maryland.  My younger brother and I think that this is (ahem) a Very Bad Thing Indeed.  Older Brother  seems to be working on the principle of Adverse Possession - that he has her there, and there she will stay.

Err, yes.  Even though we're (ahem) invited to visit.  I'd call him an SOB, but Mom doesn't deserve that.

My first instinct is to go up and get her, and fly her back to Albuquerque.  Adverse Possession, indeed.  My next thought is to report a kidnapping.  Grrr.  My cooler head suggests that I seek legal counsel - that this is the sort of dispute where the Organs Of The State might side with Adverse Possession.  At least if they are Organs of the Maryland State.

If anyone has the name of a good family practice lawyer who understands the issues of the elderly, please contact me at borepatch at gmail dot com.


Sean D Sorrentino said...

I know nothing about your situation, but let me tell you what happened to my grandparents. My parents determined, after having them live with them for a couple of months, that they could not live alone. They recommended a home. The rest of the family, living on the other coast, freaked out and would not allow it. They put them in "Leisure World," which is supposed to be an independent living facility. Grandpa, who had been convinced it was 1942 for a couple of years at that point, put on his (Canadian Legion) uniform and "went back to base." One of the times he did this, he was hit by a truck.

I hope that you are correct that your mother doesn't need that sort of care. But please check it out carefully before rejecting it. My angry/foolish Aunt and Uncles caused my alzheimers patient grandpa to get killed because they were angry my father wanted to put him in a home.

And if your brother is being a douche about the whole thing, I hope your lawyer stuffs a whole library's worth of law books up his ass.

Pachydermis2 said...

I see this sort of problem all the time.

Too often it is a continuation of some earlier disagreement. Now the stakes are upped, because feuds over Mom and Dad seem to go on to the grave. It is not worth that.

Put as first principle whether your Mom is better off in the Assisted Living place than she was prior to the move. This will take a few months to sort out. Sometimes a person can-by means of close access or professional training- see long range problems in a failing parent before other family members, or the parent, see them. It can make you unpopular. Welcome btw to my world.

And do not fight over possessions. I will assume that the estate is not going to make anybody a member of the reviled 1%. Your turn to get ahead of the curve...take a deep breath, a shot or two of something soothing, and try to have a conversation with your brother that looks at recent, current and future events.

If he is an SOB, and they do exist, he will be unchanged but you will have done a bit of karmic good for yourself.


Chris said...

My wife and I are caregivers to her 94-year-old mother. It is a LOT of work, since she cannot walk around without assistance. Same for bathing, etc. (At least she cannot wander out when we're not home. And the hallucinations have stopped, knock on wood.)

As noted above, everyone's situation is going to be different. My wife and I both work, but her mother can make do during the day, as we leave food, drink, and other necessities within reach. This won't work with everyone.

I have never needed a family law attorney, so I cannot recommend anyone in particular. If you wish to search, go to "Super Lawyers" for family law. I saw some people there that I have dealt with in a sales capacity, but that hardly counts.

Anonymous said...

Having been in a similar situation (without sibling conflicts, because I was an only child), the only real issue you should consider is the quality of care your mother will receive at that facility.

Long term, you have three options: a facility such as the one your brother placed her in, living with you in Georgia, or living with your other brother wherever he is living. (Brother who's put her in the facility has obviously no intention of having her live with him.) And by living with you or your brother, I mean that someone will, after a certain point, need to be with her round the clock, to feed her, dress her, clean her and change her diaper after she's dirtied herself because she's lost the ability to tell you she needs to go to the bathroom. That can be shared among family members, of course, but it's something you should figure out now instead of later. And if you and or your younger brother can't be sure you can provide that sort of care, than probably that facility in Maryland is the best solution, and make your argument solely on the point of finding a better place (and be prepared to pay for part of it at least if his main concern is spending as little money as possible. Which may sound greedy but it's not--it's easy to run through a lifetime of savings in this situation. I used most of my mother's savings to pay for the woman who lived with us round the clock for most of three years--and I went for that option not only because I didn't want to put her in a facility, but because it was cheaper than putting her in a facility.) And be warned that having her live with you will be extremely stressful and draining on the emotional level, not just the financial and physical levels.

So before you even call a lawyer, think long and hard, and discuss with your younger brother, what actually is the best long term option for your mother. Living at home is nice, but not necessarily doable.

abnormalist said...

All of this is none of my business, but you put it out here so I will toss out $0.02 after having a dysfunctional family issues after the death of my grandmother I will admit that family matters are a deep and personal issue, and are highly personal to a given situation.

Also, I don't want to be callous, but after your mother is gone from this world, you and your brothers will remain. Ideally your mother would want all of you to remain on speaking terms as a family.

A lawyer is sorta like a loaded weapon. Once you introduce a lawyer to a situation, it becomes a legal fight (much like once a gun comes out it becomes a gun fight). Once its out there it becomes incredibly difficult to de-escalate your situation.

Perhaps being the bigger man, working out a vacation schedule for Mom with brothers, or perhaps a "snow bird" (IE north in the summer, south in the winter) option is a better way to go?

If possession of your mother rips the family apart, that is probably the absolute last legacy she could want.

Chris said...

I have asked around, and have a name of a sole practitioner (family law) in southern MD that says she has worked all sides of cases like these. If you still wish to discuss this with a lawyer email me at the igli1969 address.