My fiancés grandfather is living with us. Are we liable?

Q: My fiancé’s grandfather is 92 and has some type of dementia. He was living with his daughter who is his caregiver, but they had a fight and he moved with us at his house. The house is not safe for an elderly and he stays home for over 10 hours while we work which is very concerning to me. Are we liable if something happens to him? My fiancé’s aunt just dropped him in our lap without any information about his medication and things he needs or things he can’t have. My fiancé’s grandfather was the one who decided to move in with us. He is not able to make decisions of his own. I need to know what I can do to get him to a safe place and are we responsible for anything that happens to him or is his daughter liable for it? Please help. Thank you.

A: Your fiancés aunt sounds like a real sweet lady. If I understand this, he owns the house and you and his granddaughter are living in it? If you do not want to take care of him, call the Adult Protective Services to assess his ability to live alone. Then you can move out and he is on his own. If you want to help him, you need to have him assessed by a doctor. This will give you an idea of the level of care he needs. You can reach out to and senior citizens care groups or perhaps get a referral from his doctor. He may need in home care, or possibly assisted living. If he has social security and a pension, he should be able to afford this. You should also seek the advice of an elder law attorney. If this man is competent, he should execute a Will and a Power of Attorney. If he is not competent the attorney can advise you about a guardianship. You should also be advised of how Medicaid would impact the situation, if he needed to apply for benefits. It will certainly be the right thing to do and honorable if you decide to help him, but it could be a lot of work.

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