My mother is 83. Her husband of 20 years is 89 and very ill....

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 25, 2016
Rosabella asked...

My mother is 83. Her husband of 20 years is 89 and very ill. My mother had a stroke, from which she never recovered, and is paralyzed on her left side. She also has serious cardiac problems and is diabetic.

Her husband recently put a pillow over her face and tried to smother her. He also punched her. 911 took her away to a hospital, then transferred to a nursing home. There is an order of protection for her against her husband, but he was only charged with assault 3. He has a court hearing in March.

I have transported my mother into a very nice nursing home near me. Her husband is in full control of all money and social security checks. We need to get my mother approved for long term medicaid, in order for her to stay in the nursing home.

Can I file a petition against her husband, in order to stop him from taking her out of the nursing home, once the order of protection is lifted? I do not want to see her return to that situation. He is a section 8, from world war II, is diabetic himself, gets drunk and abusive. How can I prevent her from returning to him? How do I get him to comply and help us get medicaid? Thank you for any help. Rosabella


Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

The laws that pertain to your mother's situation vary significantly from state to state, so it is important for you to consult an elder law attorney as soon as possible. With that being said, however, the first step that will need to be taken is for you to file a petition to become your mother's guardian in order to manage her health issues as well as her finances. As guardian, you would be in a position to override your mother's husband's wishes pertaining to her being in the nursing home. You would also be in a position to apply for Medicaid on her behalf. If he were not to cooperate with her Medicaid application, the Medicaid laws provide for the application to be granted even where there is a non-cooperative spouse.