Elderly Couple Forced into State Custody

dreamgardenSeptember 2, 2009

Here is a story that explains why it is important to make sure you have an advocate (guardian) who can help out in the event you are temporarily incapacitated.

Elderly Couple Forced into State Custody

Aug 25, 2009

DALLAS - Theyre not criminals. TheyÂve broken no laws. But theyÂre being held against their will by the State of Texas. Why? ItÂs a tragic story about what can happen when you are alone in the world and lose control of your rights, your money, and your ability to complain.

Michael Kidd worked as an engineer at KDFW for 23 years. He retired in 2001 with a pension, retirement account, and social security. Last month, he called the station for help. The Kidds have no children or relatives nearby. In November Michael fell and broke his hip. He was taken to a Plano hospital and into surgery. After a few days, the hospital called the state Adult Protective Services to report Jean had been in the waiting room for days and wasnÂt eating. What happened next is a complicated, legal tale told in hundreds of pages of documents filed with the Collin County Probate Court.

Caseworkers paint a picture of two incompetent old people, age 67 and 70, suffering from dementia. Reports say the Kidds have mismanaged their finances and used poor judgment, that Michael is verbally abusive and even attempted to assault Jean. Michael says Jean has memory trouble but denies everything else. A judge determined the Kidds were incapacitated and unable to care for themselves. The state took over the Kidds lives, sent them to the Countryside Nursing Home in Pilot Point, and is now burning through their money to pay for their care.

"You have no idea how much money you have?" Oliver asked Michael Kidd. "None at all," Kidd responded. "I know what my income was and I know it was more than enough to take care of my bills. Now, I am deteriorating instead of getting better," Kidd continued.

The monthly tab for a couple at Countryside is about seven thousand dollars. Court records show, for five months care, the guardian paid eleven thousand dollars out of the Kidds accounts. The stateÂs Medicaid program kicks in the rest. "I could be at the Hilton for this kind of money," Kidd told Oliver.

The state appointed a financial guardian in Greenville to manage the Kidds money and pay their bills. When they asked for an accounting, the state refused. Representatives for the state stated the Kidds did not have the mental capacity to even ask for their own financial or medical records. Yet, much of their personal information is public record. The state tried to get a temporary restraining order to stop FOX 4 from reporting the Kidds story, saying the couple does not have the authority to consent to an interview and that our report will cause them irreparable harm. Judge Weldon Copeland ruled against the state. He said he would welcome a neighbor or family member to serve as a guardian but no one has come forward. The state is the last resort."

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$11,000 for 5 months of care for a couple is rather cheap. I would think the court would have appointed them an advocate for them. My husband's care home bill was $4,000. + every month and it was not a posh home.

why in the world would the state want to steal their money. It has to be accounted for.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 7:28PM
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...it is important to make sure you have an advocate (guardian) who can help out in the event you are temporarily incapacitated."

Not quite.

A guardian is what the state sets up when you have NOT taken care of your business. Power of Attorney (POA) is what you should set up yourself to AVOID ever becoming subject to a guardianship.

And if you cannot afford an attorney, at least download the papers from your state, sign them and get them notarized. 99 times out of 100 that will work fine. (unless your kids are into fighting over who gets to be POA)

I work in this area, and trust me: everybody involved is always happy to come upon signed Powers and drop the court mess.

There may come a day when you canot speak for yourself, even temporarily. And no, your spouse or your parents can't simply start making decisions for you. (Remember Terri Shaivo?) Take care of your business and the courts will leave you alone. Neglect making a plan and designating Powers, and you may leave the court no choice but to step in.

Often a terrible mess, but that's the law.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 1:12AM
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