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I'm an only child. I can't help my parents because they don't want my help. They need it. But they say they don't. They say I don't know what I'm talking about. I do. They say I micromanage. I don't. I'm following advice from professionals and books on eldercare. But they fight me on everything. They lie. They throw tantrums. They did no financial planning. Have no long term care insurance. And are racking up debt like crazy. I'm done. Can I legally walk away from this?

Just have to say, not everyone can afford Care insurance. My Dad was a high school drop out, why, there were 8 kids in his family and the boys had to work during the depression to help. He was lucky where we live he was able to get a job making a living wage. Mom had 4 children and stayed home to care for them. When my Dad went on disability in his early 50s the youngest was just out of high school. My parents lived from pay to pay. There was no xtra money to "plan" for the rest of their lives. My Mom died penniless. The house is in such bad condition, I can't sell it.

Also, recommendations of lawyers. The last two lawyers I have been involved with charged me 5k just as a retainer. Lot of money if you don't have it.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I am an only child as well, and it must have been something in that Era when people didn't plan for the future, because most people died at age 65, so there WAS no future to worry about.
I fought with my parents as well when I worried about how I would care for both of them (divorced) and living in two different states.  My dad died at age 70, and he "fixed it" by becoming estranged from ALL of the family before he died.  I had to go identify his body, but he left no will, so there was probate to consider because he also had two living siblings, and THEY had to sign off on not wanting his stuff before the court would consider me as the ADULT child getting his assets.  That was interesting to go through.
Now I have my mom, and she has a will, but it took a house fire and neighbors complaining about her feeding 18 outside feral cats and the smell, and others saying that there was something wrong and I needed to do something about it before I could get The Humane Society involved, and DHS involved and get her removed from her house so that I COULD get something done.  I was made her POA one day before she put herself in a position that required an emergency admission to a psychiatric facility, and that was about 5-6 months after she had set the house on fire, and I had the Humane Society at her house.  Everyone was relieved, but I also got an emergency guardianship over her because no one else in the family wanted any part of it, and I wanted to help her since she was my mother.  I lived in another state, so I had to have the guardianship transferred over to that state after I got her moved near me, and it has been a horrible experience all the way around with her finances in shambles, me not knowing a lot of stuff that was kept from me over the years, etc.  I would contact an attorney and see if they could get a court appointed guardian for your parents if you do not want to do this for them.  The attorney will know your state's laws.  Good luck!
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Erlanger1243 Apr 30, 2019
Your situation sounds like a nightmare. Thank you for the wish of good luck. I just did some research and found a good eldercare attorney in our area. I will consult him soon. Thank you for your advice and for sharing your story.
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Unless you have been made legal care giver and are listed as such for taxes you are not liable to anything they choose to do. However, make sure you understand what that means for your state, and what laws are in place. In some states, you can call and report self-negligence if an elderly loved one is making dangerous choices that put themselves and others at risk. This is usually through DCF, but you can research it online and see what avenues you can call in your state. DCF may send out a social worker to look at their living conditions, and if they continue to fight you a judge can assign them a "legal guardian" who will take over their finances, medical care.

Unfortunately, it usually will take a big event to kick the process into motion, either a major fall or an accident of some sort which will force the system to work and place them into a type of rehab center to then move on to a Medicaid Nursing Facility if they qualify.

You may also need to take a step back from the situation and regain your sense of identity, as no longer the "only child" but as "independent adult". You may also need to start looking into alternative living accommodations for yourself to physically move out from under the roof. This may give you time to distance yourself emotionally from the situation too.

As an only child I can relate to what you are going through, and I can attest that the moment I moved out, I finally felt like I could breathe. They are your parents, but they are also adults, like you, who are free to make choices. We don't have to agree with the choices, but unless they are directly affecting you they should have no bearing on your life now.

Finally, I read you mentioned you are disabled, are they collecting your disability check? Are they claiming you as a dependent? Those are some real questions that you need to know because you will need to clarify with the appropriate department that when you do move out, you are living independently and they will not be able to claim you as a dependent or take the check.
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Erlanger1243 Apr 30, 2019
They are not taking my disability check. I pay them rent from it. I think your advice about getting out and reclaiming my identity as an independent adult is important. Maybe once I remove my help they will see their situation for what it is and ask for help instead of resisting it. And if they don't... Today I learned the name of an eldercare lawyer who hopefully can help.
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I'd get a legal consult with an Elder Law attorney. I'd explore what your legal responsibilities are and your options. At least you can get an idea of what evidence you would need if you end up having to take this to court. If they are indeed incompetent to manage their own affairs, someone may need to be appointed. I'd inquire what that involves and how it works. Sometimes, having information empowers us and provides us with peace of mind. Plus, having options is helpful.
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Erlanger1243 Apr 30, 2019
Great advice! Noted. And followed. Thanks!
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Stop enabling them to continue doing this to you.

1) Stop paying rent, on the grounds that you can no longer afford it AND you are an unpaid caregiver.

Maybe they will evict you, exercising their own legal rights. Then you are free to walk away?
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Erlanger1243,

I'm not clear on what the legal issue is. Are you the legal guardian for your parents? Do you have partial ownership of the house? What is keeping you from simply packing up and leaving?
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Erlanger1243 Apr 30, 2019
I'm not their legal guadian. Ive fallen into the role of caretaking. Driving. Errands. Phone calls. Appointments. Cleaning. Their health is failing fast. Theyre both in an out of the hospital. They're not taking meds as directed. Not eating well. Falling a lot. Not driving well... Dad just hit a parked car the other day. They dont make good decisions. They're not planning for the future and refuse to talk about it. I moved in with them years ago. Im disabled but work part time. They've needed my help financially. I pay them rent. But it's nowhere near the amount average rents are where I live. But then I chose to make certain sacrifices to live in a place I could afford. I pay for all my own bills and groceries. But our lives have become so emeshed to an unhealthy degree. I'm talking to my therapist but he says Im stuck in a bad situation and doesn't give much advice. Since None of us have much money, and they refuse to plan or talk about finances, I researched Filial Responsibility Laws. I'm scared. I don't fully understand what my legal obligations are to my parents who refuse help themselves or let me help them and are making things worse.
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Um, yes, you need to deal with financials, but probably not the best place to start.

When did you move in? Why? Can you move out, financially?

Perhaps you need to approach this....

" Dad, mom, I need to move out and get on with my life. We clearly have a differing opinion of how much care you both need; I need to protect myself legally so that I don't get charged with abandoning you. We need to go see a lawyer; let's split the bill for this".

Can you try that approach?
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Erlanger1243 Apr 30, 2019
That is the best advice I've heard. I'm working on that now.
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Yes. I live with them. I went to our local Council on Aging office and got paperwork for local resources. The first thing they need is my parent's financial information. I can't turn in the paperwork without it. My dad won't let me near their finances. I bought three books on eldercare. They all say that dealing with the financial area is the first and most important step.
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Are you living with them?

It makes a difference, I think, if you reside in the home with them.

What you CAN do (and should do) is call their local Area Agency on Aging and get what is called a "needs assessment". Be present for this because most elders think that they are more capable then they actually are. You can politely let the assessor know what is the real deal.

Have you talked to their doctor?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Do you live with them?
This is a difficult time period when parents refuse help.
How old are they, and what are their condition(s) medically?

As time passes, they will ask for help, or receive it more readily.
My elderly loved one said "NO" just two years ago, and again, "NO" just one year ago. He now has the POA, and an executor managing his affairs.

You can start by asking them if there is anyone they trust to have their POA
for a time when they will need help.

Others will show up here soon to answer your question:
"Can I legally walk away from this?".

Most legal questions are best asked of an attorney, specializing in elder law, and certified. (NAELA).
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What advice from what professionals? It might make a difference to whether or not you can just walk.
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