My uncompromising father came to Communion for my brother high on cocaine. He hit the taxi driver. Am I Responsible For Your End-of-Life Care?

My parents divorced when I was very young because my father was a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic and drug addict.

Although my brother and I spent sporadic weekends with him when we were in elementary school, I stopped visiting him during my high school years and cut off all contact when I turned 18.

He is getting old now and I have followed him through mutual friends and family. I know that he has been unemployed for 20 years and that he would be homeless if it weren’t for his girlfriend, who he lives with, although it seems like she recently kicked him out.

He still drinks and smokes a lot and, from what I understand, he also abuses other drugs. I believe you have outstanding gambling debts, as well as debts from guarantors, parking tickets and driving tickets, credit cards, etc.

He has a host of medical problems and is in poor health but is not dying, although I suspect his health will deteriorate rapidly over the next decade due to his destructive lifestyle.

“He is not someone I want in my life, especially now that I have children of my own.”

He is not someone I want in my life, especially now that I have children of my own. I last saw him when he showed up high on cocaine and hit his taxi driver outside the church during my brother’s Holy Communion.

As my husband and I plan for our future, I wonder what kind of impact my useless father is going to have on our lives. Are there any responsibilities that you would have as an adult child, such as your medical care or financial commitments?

I don’t know if he has a will or what is in it if he does, and honestly, I am concerned that he may have a provision that could affect my future, such as paying for his funeral expenses or inheriting property that I do not have. I do not want.

I am also concerned that you include me as your health care proxy in a medical power of attorney. Could I be in jeopardy from your unplanned end-of-life care, or worse, from any financial commitment you have? I don’t want to have anything to do with him now or in the future.

Thanks for any advice you can provide.

The daughter

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear daughter,

When you think of the Blessed Sacrament, that is not what most people, including the taxi driver, I am sure, have in mind. I’m sorry about what happened on your brother’s big day. For your father, nothing was sacred. A child needs stability and a sense of security, and having such an unpredictable figure in his life can take years, even a lifetime, of anxiety and trauma.

It can be helpful to consider your parent sick rather than mean, and lost rather than cruel. That could help you heal and forgive him, so that you can overcome the anger and humiliation of such incidents. I say that because I suspect that part of your fear of what is happening now is related to your experience of dealing with a highly volatile figure. That being said, you can refuse to be a proxy for a person.

There are filial liability laws in more than two dozen states, but the courts rarely enforce them. A relatively famous case in Pennsylvania in 2012, Health and Ret. Corp. of Am v. Pittas, again brought the issue of filial responsibility to the public’s attention. In it, a son was found liable for his mother’s $ 93,000 nursing home bills, but they were very unusual circumstances.

A child needs to feel safe, and having a shape in his life that is so unpredictable can lead to a life of anxiety and trauma.

His mother, who was 60 years old, was injured in a car accident and went to a nursing home. She was later transferred to Greece, where two of her other children lived, leaving them out of the jurisdiction of the courts and the nursing home debt collectors, leaving the bill unpaid. The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in favor of the home.

Each case is unique, of course, and there has not been a flood of similar cases as is sometimes suspected after such a ruling. Your father was not there for your children, and a judge would take that into account in the unlikely event that a nursing home came after you to pay the bills, even if your father lived in one of the 29 states with such laws.

These are ancient laws. According to the law firm Burke, Costanza and Carberry.

“Federal and state laws allow Medicaid to request reimbursement for property from beneficiaries. However, an increasing number of beneficiaries are hiding their financial assets to meet Medicaid standards. Some older people transfer their property assets to their children through trusts to be eligible for Medicaid without risking the inheritance of their children, ”he adds.

But that is not the case here. You are out of your father’s life and he is no longer in your life causing chaos. It can be difficult to sleep soundly while he’s alive, as his childhood self expects his troubles to knock on his door once more, and his adult self cries for the father he wished he had but never did, one who might as well. be a grandparent to your children.

A lawyer would be the best advice, of course, and a therapist could help you sort through all the tangled feelings about this man who was once so important in your life. His shadow remains, but it is only a shadow, and based on what he has told me, he can look into the future without any real consequence of his father’s life or death affecting his peaceful existence.

You have the right to be happy and free.

By emailing your questions, you agree to have them posted anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.

check Moneyist’s private Facebook group, where we seek answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets not being able to answer the questions individually.More by quentin fottrell:

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