We found out thru extended family that my brother in law who has estranged he and his wife from my father in law the past 3 yrs is because his elder attorney in Syracuse, NY told him to do so, to avoid him having to be financially responsible for his dad. Is this a NY thing? His dad has been living with us the past 5 yrs due to not being able to live independently any longer. We tried to get his dad up to visit with him for a vacation for us and for the holidays but his son came up with continued denials and excuses as to why they didn’t want him there. Then after about the 1st yr his son cut all contact, no birthday cards, Xmas gifts, letters or even phone calls… this really something an elder attorney would tell someone to do. It seems immoral. I would have never done this to my parents. My father in law has never done anything to his son. He is a very quiet man, that never lashes out. Any insight if this is a legal thing?

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I doubt that any attorney said this. My guess is that the BIL is afraid that his father will magically end up at his home if he accepts any visit from him. And quite frankly, based on some horror stories I have heard from other people, he probably has a point. I'm mean, look at what happened to you?
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Reply to olddude

Why would you think your BIL would be financially responsible for his father?

No one legally has to support their parents. Parents do not have to legally support their own childen past the age of 18 years if they choose not to.

More likely the lawyer told your BIL to cut ties so he wouldn't get responsibility for his father's care and needs forced on him.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
RLWG54 Mar 31, 2024
Nobody can be forced to take financial responsibility for their parents. There probably was not any attorney involved in the decision to cut off communication. They made their decision. Accept it and move on.
I agree that I too cannot imagine a lawyer advising 100% no contact with a family member outside of a legitimate legal reason. Your BIL doesn't want to participate with the caregiving of his Father in any capacity, even temporarily. It's sad, but the son has his reasons, which are a mystery -- and you must accept it.

"We found out thru extended family..."

You know grapevines are notoriously inaccurate forms of communication. Like playing "Telephone"... take the info with a grain of salt.

Even if turns out to be ''a legal thing"... so what? It doesn't change anything, really. You still must accept the no contact. You cannot assume someone into caregiving or helping.
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Reply to Geaton777

Honestly, who can know?
This may be an excuse. It may not be. But there is no way you can ever know.

The real point here is that this family wishes NO CONTACT.
And there is honestly nothing that can be done about that.
For that reason alone this isn't really relevant at all.

This son isn't financially responsible for his father whether he has contact or does NOT have contact, so the question is fairly irrelevant. If someone is thinking of filial law, that isn't ever used any more whether it's on the "books" in a state or not. Children are not responsible for parents.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
RBIndiana Mar 26, 2024
I wasn’t questioning the relevance of whether or not BIL doesn’t want contact with his father, that is obvious. What I was looking for was anybody ever hearing that an attorney would ask his client to stoop that low to avoid financial involvement with a parent. His dad is 97 and up until the time dad was no longer the active self sufficient man he always was, my BIL was just fine being his son and in fact was the golden boy. I guess what pisses me off is that both my BIL & SIL protest them selves as pillars of their church community, bible studies at their home, working soup kitchens for the indigent, etc…I would love to make contact with their church community and let them know what true parishioners they have.
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You got information thru the grapevine . Which is often not 100% accurate. But in this case it doesn’t really matter .

Actions speak louder. Your BIL does not want to participate in caring for his father , which is why he didn’t allow you to drop him off at his house .
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Reply to waytomisery
AlvaDeer Mar 26, 2024
He may not even LIKE the dad. Given the no contact thing, I would guess that's the case. We see that often happen on AC.
Whether an attorney said to estrange from the father or not, it's clear that the son wants nothing to do with his dad. You can't force it upon him, and you could consider it a blessing that you don't have to deal with this guy.

Also, what about the financial status of the son? He may not want to sink money into his father's care because it may be an endless pit of responsibility. Right or wrong? Who knows, but children don't have to spend their own money on aging parents.
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Reply to Fawnby

To definitively know if its a legal thing, I would say only an attorney can answer that for you. Some things can vary a bit state by state as well. So ask an attorney in your own state ideally.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to strugglinson

I never head of this. Quiet frankly I think it's an excuse and a big lie and they don't know how else to sugar coat the fact that he doesn't care.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to NJmom201

If a lawyer said anything close to this it may have been misinterpreted. Seems In does have a filial law but many of these are not carried out because the income of the children is taken into consideration.

"What is the filial support law in Indiana?
shall contribute to the support of the individual's parents if either parent is financially unable to furnish the parent's own necessary food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention"

These laws were placed on the books before Medicare and Medicaid came into existance. They are very rarely used. We now have resources that can help in the above situation. So not seeing his Dad because he may have to pay for his care is IMO not so and rediculous. I will bet though when his parent dies, he will be right there with his hand out.

I have 2 brothers who made more Money than my DH. I was it when it came to Moms care. Medicaid never asked me for my financials or my brothers. Everything was based on Moms.

The only thing that may make a child responsible is if that child had been physically caring for a parent who could not do for themselves or had Dementia and they walked away. That could be seen as abandonment.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I would contact the NY bar association or the NY AARP to ask if this is a practice in NY which does not seem to be quite sensible.
I might attempt to send the brother in law and the grandchildren photos and a light note showing Grandpa in an activity that would show his vibrance.
I would send the note on Grandpa's birthday or wedding anniversary. Light and breezy -- Grandpa is enjoying a warm spring day. He is able to use his cell phone if you'd like to send a text to xxx-xxx-xxxx and here's mine. Just thinking of you and wishing you well.
Sometimes we need to think out of the box when it comes to overcoming estrangements -- if met with nastiness then discontinue, get some counseling as to how to go forward with this sad cliff of estrangement.
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Reply to christinex2ri

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