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How do I handle a false claim of neglect with Adult Protective Services?

Baltimore, MD |

My mother has Alzheimer's and lives in Baltimore with a live in care giver. I live in Seattle. Her service quit last Thursday night without notice, they emailed me at 10pm my time, and called the police early Friday morning in Baltimore. In a panic, within 24 hours, I had another service in place. But now, APS is investigating me, demanding bank records, my POA and other documents. Why is every aspect of my life and my mother's life being judged and examined now? I do the best I can for my mother and she is safe and cared for. No matter what I do, nothing is right according to them. I feel bullied!
They want my mother out of her own home, she spent her entire life in, and moved into a facility. Don't I get to choose what happens? How do I get them to leave us alone? I know mom, they do not

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You must stand up for your rights and for the rights of your mother. The question here is whether or not your mother can be adequately cared for in her own home with a live in care giver. I suggest you hire an attorney to fight for the rights of your mother to continue living in her own home.

Office: (410) 381-1656. This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client Relationship with you. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California. Office: (410) 381-1656. David Mahood, Esq.

Lawrence A Friedman

Lawrence A Friedman

Posted

Absolutely retain an elder law attorney but rather than fight APS, I would cooperate with them if you truly have done nothing wrong. Fighting APS unnecessarily is a great way to get public agencies and courts suspicious, incur major costs, and possibly even wind up being pushed aside.

Kelly Scott Davis

Kelly Scott Davis

Posted

Don't succumb to a knee-jerk reaction. Attorney Friedman is giving good, practical advice.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Friedman, I will follow this advice! I have nothing to hide.

Posted

You don't say whether you have guardianship or merely her POA. And so it is hard to determine what you mean by "don't I get to choose what happens.." Are you the only living relative? The only child? And there is also a Maryland law that requires an adult child to care for a destitute parent. All these facts come in play for someone trying to advise you on Mom's rights, and your responsibilities, if any. It is also curious that a service would quit so suddenly. Was there a dispute over payment? How is Mom's care paid for? We have represented a client who was charged criminally for failing to pay his mother's nursing home bill, thus causing her to be evicted. He was charged with elder abuse. It did not turn out well for him. I hope the facts of your situation are different. Your description raises far more questions than even you have anticipated.

Asker

Posted

I just have POA and I am an only child living in Seattle. Her other friends and relatives have not spoken to her, I am all she has...

Thomas C Valkenet

Thomas C Valkenet

Posted

Then they may be examining your situation under the statute requiring care for a destitute parent. The correspondence likely references the statute. They don't just start rummaging through your affairs just because you are her child.

Asker

Posted

The previous caregiver accused me of neglect, although emergency services and police said I did a great job in that 24 hour window between providers.

Posted

While MD APS can't force an out of state person to cooperate with them, they probably will take emergency court action to push you out of the picture if you don't. If you have nothing to hide, full cooperation and disclosure usually is the best bet. In any case APS is responsible to monitor vulnerable adults and try to protect them from abuse so if show APS that your mom isn't vulnerable or that adequate protections are in place, they should transform from adversary to friend. In any case a consult (by phone is fine) with an elder law attorney near your mom would be very useful.

Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.