Wedding Woes

Do not agree to this.

Dear Prudence

I, my husband, and my childhood friend “Mia” are all in our early forties. Mia lives with and supports her niece “Hope,” who is in her mid-twenties. Hope has an IQ just slightly too high to qualify for disability, but for various reasons is unable to live independently. Hope was mostly raised by Mia’s parents (her grandparents), who are now dead. Her mother, Mia’s sister and only sibling, is also dead and her father’s whereabouts are unknown.

Their family tends to have very poor health, and Mia already has the health and mobility of an elderly person. She’s worried what will happen to Hope when she dies, since they have no other relatives they’re in touch with. Nor does Mia expect to leave much money. She earns less than $30,000 a year and Hope less than $10,000. They rent, have minimal savings, and just barely cover their present needs. So as Mia’s closest remaining friend, she has asked me if I and my husband will take Hope in upon her death.

Should I agree to this? We own a three-bedroom house and could provide Hope with a room and food, but I’m concerned about our responsibility for anything beyond that, since we’re far from well-off either (which ironically is the main reason we decided not to have kids). We’re not related to Hope and would have no formal guardianship, since she has never been declared incompetent. If we had to take her for needed health care or call an ambulance for her, would those bills be on her, as an adult (even with no money, insurance or credit history), or on us? If she developed mobility issues such that we couldn’t care for her at home, where else could we take her, and could they come after us for payment? We’d appreciate any and all advice you can give.

— Hesitant Helper

Re: Do not agree to this.

  • No.  Do not agree to this.

    But if you want to help IMO look into other resources.  There have to be options like group apartments that can help especially if she may be able to work a job of some type. 

    IMO this isn't your responsibility and could be a dangerous one to accept.  But you can help your friend by exploring the options that are available for her so she doesn't feel like your no means she may be abandoning her niece. 
    short+sassyei34
  • I agree with you, banana. Definitely dont' take her in (although i understand wanting to and feeling like it's the right thing) but help your friend look into alternatives. 
    ei34
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 12
    The LW and their H should not take Hope in.  It would be exceedingly generous if they wanted to.  But they don't and that's perfectly fine and understandable also.

    Has Mia continually tried to get Hope on Social Security Disability?  Or was it tried once and everyone said pfft and gave up?  I know it's hard when funds are scarce, but they might need to hire an attorney for help on that.  But a whole world of benefits will open up if Hope is declared disabled to enough to be on SSDI.  While it's not something I know much about, this seems like the only avenue to best secure Hope's future.

    Help for the disabled is not always straightforward or easy to obtain, but someone who is intellectually disabled enough that they cannot live independently is also someone who should qualify for government help.

    I'm also wondering if Mia's health is too poor for her to obtain affordable life insurance.  That could be a big help for Hope also. 

    Edited to add:  if the LW and her H would truly be okay with giving Hope lodging and food.  And just don't want to be responsible for anything else, including when the day comes that Hope needs to be put in a home, then they all should be speaking to an attorney who specializes in these kind of matters.  Not asking Prudie who won't know those answers either (eyeroll). 
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    banana468
  • The LW and their H should not take Hope in.  It would be exceedingly generous if they wanted to.  But they don't and that's perfectly fine and understandable also.

    Has Mia continually tried to get Hope on Social Security Disability?  Or was it tried once and everyone said pfft and gave up?  I know it's hard when funds are scarce, but they might need to hire an attorney for help on that.  But a whole world of benefits will open up if Hope is declared disabled to enough to be on SSDI.  While it's not something I know much about, this seems like the only avenue to best secure Hope's future.

    Help for the disabled is not always straightforward or easy to obtain, but someone who is intellectually disabled enough that they cannot live independently is also someone who should qualify for government help.

    I'm also wondering if Mia's health is too poor for her to obtain affordable life insurance.  That could be a big help for Hope also. 

    Edited to add:  if the LW and her H would truly be okay with giving Hope lodging and food.  And just don't want to be responsible for anything else, including when the day comes that Hope needs to be put in a home, then they all should be speaking to an attorney who specializes in these kind of matters.  Not asking Prudie who won't know those answers either (eyeroll). 
    You mean Prudie doesn't have ALL the answers??? 


    short+sassy
  • banana468 said:
    The LW and their H should not take Hope in.  It would be exceedingly generous if they wanted to.  But they don't and that's perfectly fine and understandable also.

    Has Mia continually tried to get Hope on Social Security Disability?  Or was it tried once and everyone said pfft and gave up?  I know it's hard when funds are scarce, but they might need to hire an attorney for help on that.  But a whole world of benefits will open up if Hope is declared disabled to enough to be on SSDI.  While it's not something I know much about, this seems like the only avenue to best secure Hope's future.

    Help for the disabled is not always straightforward or easy to obtain, but someone who is intellectually disabled enough that they cannot live independently is also someone who should qualify for government help.

    I'm also wondering if Mia's health is too poor for her to obtain affordable life insurance.  That could be a big help for Hope also. 

    Edited to add:  if the LW and her H would truly be okay with giving Hope lodging and food.  And just don't want to be responsible for anything else, including when the day comes that Hope needs to be put in a home, then they all should be speaking to an attorney who specializes in these kind of matters.  Not asking Prudie who won't know those answers either (eyeroll). 
    You mean Prudie doesn't have ALL the answers??? 


    Not ALL of them!  And sometimes bad ones, lol.

    But "what happens to a non-relative living in your home, who you may/may not be legally responsible for depending on how things are set up" is definitely above Prudie's pay grade.
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    banana468charlotte989875
  • I can't tell if LW is hesitant b/c of the questions or if the questions are coming b/c they're hesitant about doing it at all.

    If they want to help Mia, I'd offer up and put some legwork into finding out some more resources for Hope.  They can also reach out to the organizations around their city that deal with this; even my small city has 3 I can think of right off the top of my head.

    If they don't want to do anything, they don't have to and they can tell Mia no.
    charlotte989875
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The LW and their H should not take Hope in.  It would be exceedingly generous if they wanted to.  But they don't and that's perfectly fine and understandable also.

    Has Mia continually tried to get Hope on Social Security Disability?  Or was it tried once and everyone said pfft and gave up?  I know it's hard when funds are scarce, but they might need to hire an attorney for help on that.  But a whole world of benefits will open up if Hope is declared disabled to enough to be on SSDI.  While it's not something I know much about, this seems like the only avenue to best secure Hope's future.

    Help for the disabled is not always straightforward or easy to obtain, but someone who is intellectually disabled enough that they cannot live independently is also someone who should qualify for government help.

    I'm also wondering if Mia's health is too poor for her to obtain affordable life insurance.  That could be a big help for Hope also. 

    Edited to add:  if the LW and her H would truly be okay with giving Hope lodging and food.  And just don't want to be responsible for anything else, including when the day comes that Hope needs to be put in a home, then they all should be speaking to an attorney who specializes in these kind of matters.  Not asking Prudie who won't know those answers either (eyeroll). 
    This is what I'm thinking. I had a cousin who, it sounds like, was similar to Hope. She wasn't under a guardianship, but she really couldn't manage her life independently. (The time she tried to live alone, she nearly burned the place down.) It took more than a few tries and a ton of persistence to eventually get her SSDI and resources. It didn't solve everything and her dad still had to help as a kind of POA role (which might be more reasonable for LW), but she was able to live in a group home, get food and necessities, and have medical care through SSDI resources. 
  • Just because they asked doesn’t meant you have to say yes. They need a plan, but you aren’t a viable one nor do you have the resources  to help them come up with one. They need a lawyer and a social worker; if you can help them with that do so, but this isn’t on you to solve. 
    banana468
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