presented by Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning
After handling elder law cases for over a decade, I can say that it is routine to see families have strong disagreements over how to take care of parents as they age. The disagreements generally come from a variety of mindsets. Sadly, I often see greed as an underlying factor. This can manifest in several ways. Here are two of the more common scenarios I see.
Example 1. Daughter has provided care for her parents for several years. She may have given up her job or significantly reduced her work hours to care for her parents. She has taken no pay for these efforts. Now, her parents are too feeble and ill to remain at home. She can no longer provide adequate care for them. However, her siblings insist that mom and dad remain at home. They also try to insist that expensive caregivers not be used and suddenly become very interested in the finances. Of course, there are instances where the caregiver child may be inappropriately depleting the parents’ assets; but, in this example, it comes down to the siblings not wanting to spend their “inheritance” to care for the parents and expect the caregiving daughter to provide caregiving for free.
Example 2. This example is similar to the first one but involves a “war” between the children of a blended family fighting over how to provide care for one or both parents/step-parents. Money can often be determined to be the root of the “war.” At times, the disagreement over healthcare is not related to money; but, to one child’s adamant denial of the parent’s condition and need for help combined with a refusal to allow the parent to have appropriate caregivers or be placed in a reputable facility that can provide the needed care.
Arguments that arise in families over providing long term care can be prevented or substantially lessened if the family has a long-term life care plan that reviews the family dynamics, income, assets, health, and overall wishes. The plan provides options for providing various forms of long-term care and the cost for the options. The parents can review their situation and make educated decisions on how things should be handled when the time for long-term care arises. Children can also go through this process and, hopefully, come to an agreement on a plan of care for parents if the parents can no longer participate in the discussion due to health conditions. A life care plan can prevent stressful arguments and enable the family to go through a difficult time with peace of mind about the actions being taken. An elder law attorney can help your family create the appropriate life care plan.
–Melanie Bradford Holliman
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.
Hear Melanie Bradford Holliman speak on the topic of Long Term Care March 7 at Brookdale University Park, Homewood. Holliman will be the featured speaker at this “Lunch & Learn,” 11am-1:30pm. CEU credits available for nurses, case managers and social workers. To learn more and register contact Leanne Messer, firstname.lastname@example.org.