My mother is 93. She is healthy, takes care of herself, cleans her own condo, and does her own grocery shopping. She had a doctor’s appointment where the doctor recommended moving into assisted living because of her age. She firmly asserted that she has been doing just fine at home and would like to stay there. Ever since he learned of this, my brother has been pressuring her to move into an assisted living facility. He finally just went on his own and moved all of her furniture and belongings out of her condo and into a facility, telling them that she can no longer care for herself. She did not want to leave her condo, and now feels imprisoned. Since it was my brother who moved her into the facility, is it possible that I can move her back home? If necessary I will pay for in-home care as long as she gets to stay at her condo. Does my mother have any rights?
The bottom is line is that if your mother is legally competent she can choose where she wants to live. She is presumed to be legally competent until a court determines that she is not. If she moves home and protective services becomes involved, they will determine whether she is safe. If they feel she is not safe, they may institute guardianship proceedings to determine her competency and to have someone appointed to make decisions for your mother. I would recommend that you and your mother consult with an elder law attorney who can advise her of her rights and make sure they are protected.
Glenn Matecun is a partner with the law firm of Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC in Howell. He is an attorney focusing on estate planning, elder law and senior Veterans’ benefits, and answers readers’ questions on legal matters affecting individuals, their families and their businesses. Listen to Glenn on Senior Law Radio, WMUZ 103.5 FM, every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email questions to [email protected], or if your question is urgent, call (517) 548-7400. Visit us at www.MichiganEstatePlans.com. The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.