December 30, 2006
High Cost of Caring for Elderly Family Members
"To care for her ailing 97-year-old father over the past three years, Elizabeth Rodriguez, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, has borrowed against her 401(k) retirement plan, sold her house on Staten Island and depleted nearly 20 years of savings.
The money has gone to lawyers’ fees ($50,000) to win a contested guardianship. It has gone for home-care equipment like the mattress for his hospital bed (about $3,000 in all) and for a food service to deliver meals ($400 a month). It has gone for a two-bedroom rental apartment big enough for herself, her dad and a home aide ($1,600 a month more than a one-bedroom apartment in the same building), and for a wheelchair-accessible van to get him to doctors’ appointments ($330 a trip). Asked to tally the costs, Ms. Rodriguez, 58, said she had no idea how much she was spending. “A shower chair, body cream with no alcohol, new shoes,” she said. “You don’t stop and calculate. You just buy what you have to buy.”
Ms. Rodriguez is among the legion of adult children — more than 15 million, according to various calculations — who take care of their aging parents, a responsibility that often includes paying for all or part of their housing, medical supplies and incidental expenses. Many costs are out of pocket and largely unnoticed: clothing, home repair, a cellular telephone." By Jane Gross, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 12-30-06 NVS)
December 27, 2006
Questions Arise About James Brown's Marital Status
"The late soul singer James Brown's lawyer said Tuesday the fact that the woman who'd been described as the late singer's wife was locked out of his South Carolina home after his death is "not a reflection on her as an individual." Instead, the lawyer said that Brown and Tomi Rae Hynie were in fact not legally married and that she was locked out for estate legal reasons.
Brown's attorney said the woman was already married to another man in 2001 when she married Brown, making her marriage to Brown null.He said she later annulled the previous marriage, but she and Brown never remarried. However, Hynie told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she believes Brown's representatives are trying to discredit her so Brown's estate doesn't have to be shared with her. She also said she has the documentation to back up her marriage status." The Indychannel.com Link to Article (last visited 12-27-06 NVS)
December 24, 2006
Case Law Development: The Power of A Christmas Card
Some Christmas cards are more important than others...
The Ohio Court of Appeals held this past week that, even though a father's sole contact with his child during the year was a Christmas card and gift card, this was sufficient "communication" with the child to require the father's consent to the child's step-father's petition to adopt the child.
The court's anaylsis was premised on a strict reading of the statutory requirement:
Our reading of the statute indicates that the legislature intended to adopt an
objective test for analyzing failure of communication ***. The legislature purposely avoided the confusion which would necessarily arise from the subjective analysis and application of terms such as failure to communicate meaningfully, substantially, significantly, or regularly. Instead, the legislature opted for certainty. It is not our function to add to this clear legislative language.
In re K.R.G., 2006 Ohio 6705 (December 18, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited December 23, 2006 bgf)