Dispute Between Brothers Demonstrates Need to Plan for Long Term Care
A recent New Jersey appeals court case demonstrates how important it is for families to come up with a long term care plan before an emergency happens. The case involves two brothers who got into a fight over whether to place their mother in a nursing home. Sadly, this dispute resulted in one broth
Dispute Demonstrates a Need for a Proactive Approach to Avoid a Conflict or CrisisR.G. was the primary caregiver for his parents and their Power of Attorney Agent. After R.G.'s mother became ill, R.G. wanted to place his mother in a nursing home. R.G.'s brother objected to this plan. R.G. had his mother admitted to a nursing home without his brother's consent. R.G.'s brother sent angry and threatening texts and emails to R.G. as well as emails expressing his desire to find a way to care for their parents in their home. Eventually the men got into a physical altercation in which R.G.'s brother shoved R.G.
R.G. went to court to get a restraining order against his brother under the state's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The trial judge ruled that R.G. had been harassed and assaulted and issued the restraining order. R.G.'s brother appealed, arguing that R.G. did not meet the definition of a victim of domestic violence.
In R.G. v. R.G. (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-0945-15T3, March 14, 2017), a New Jersey appeals court reversed the trial court, ruling that R.G.'s brother's actions did not amount to domestic violence. According to the court, there was insufficient evidence that R.G.'s brother purposely acted to harass R.G., ruling that "a mere expression of anger between persons in a requisite relationship is not an act of harassment."
This case demonstrates the need for looking into what long term care options are available and putting them into place before a crisis occurs. If the brothers had sat down with their parents before they needed care to explore options and determine their parents' wishes, this costly and volatile dispute may have been avoided. Having a proactive approach and choosing an appropriate long term care plan can help avoid family conflicts like this one.
Top Questions to Ask When Exploring Long Term Care:What kind of services do I need?
How will I pay for these services?
How can I choose the best quality services?
Think of long term care as a menu of services. A person may need only one kind of service. Or, multiple services may be needed over the course of a person's lifetime. Those who are not in immediate need of long term care may have the luxury of distributing or protecting their assets in advance. This way, when they create a long term care plan, they will quickly qualify for Medicaid benefits. Careful planning, whether in advance or in response to an unanticipated need for care will protect your estate, whether for the benefit of your spouse or your children.