If my father won't accept any help, am I liable for any injury he may incur?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
Zebra asked...

My father has been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and is physically handicapped due to loss of leg because of diabetes. He has full control of all his financial and medical decisions, and will not allow me to set up any kind of in-home care or transportation or meals on wheels. I am already taking care of my mother, for whom I have legal guardianship. Now my father wants to move into a rental house by himself. What can I do? I am worried about the liability aspect. My friend has a house for him to move into and is also concerned about the liability.

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.

If your father is competent to make his own decisions, there is little that you can do other than to try and convince him that living alone could present unnecessary risks to his safety and well-being. However, if you believe that at his present mental state of, as you describe, early dementia, he is unable to manage his own affairs, you can petition the court to be appointed as his guardian.