Q: Is there any way to protect yourself from family who is not contributing financially or giving relief to family member who is caregiver? Matriarch suffered a stroke. Youngest child (Caregiver), who lives with her and is providing most care, day and night. He is 54. Sister has deed on house. She is providing him with some financing, but, not much physical relief. Older brother will not pitch in unless his name is on the deed, but feels the right to come over whenever he wants to give orders. Caregiver is responsible for taking care of her at night, and on days when he is not working. But Caregiver must pay an individual to come in and sit with her while he goes to work. He is exhausted and almost at the end of his rope. Can anything be done to force the family to assist in a more responsible manner?
A: No family member is legally obligated to care for another. Some states do have filial responsibility statutes which make certain next of kin financially responsible for other family members who are indigent. PA does. This doesn’t sound like your concern, at least at this point. If the caretaker is financially burdened by his role, he may want to discuss filing with the court to be appointed the Matriarch’s guardian. If so appointed, he could earn a fee for his services and/or hire service providers and caretakers to ease the burden. All of these expenses would be paid from the Matriarch’s funds. Of course, in these situations, the guardian has to keep a running account of all of the money he or she spends as the court now has jurisdiction. Often in these situations, one family member bears the burden more than others. If the situation cannot be worked out fairly in an informal manner, a guardianship may be the answer. In addition, there are other issues you need to be aware of such as Medicaid. You need to consult with an attorney and provide him or her with all of the facts.