A few days ago, Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins wrote a column about former NFL Linebacker Sam Huff. Huff, who had a long and successful career after the NFL, was diagnosed with dementia in 2012.
According to the column, “Huff made what he thought were sound legal preparations and … then one day in March, his daughter picked him up at the farm, purportedly for a dentist appointment, and never brought him back home.”
Sam lived with his longtime partner, Carol Holden, who is not the mother of his daughter, Catherine Huff. According to the column, both Catherine and Carol have filed petitions for Emergency Temporary Guardianship over Sam. A hearing in the matter was held last Friday.
Think this can’t happen to you? It can. I see it all of the time in which children are fighting for guardianship over their ailing parents, either with other siblings, other parents, or with their parent’s new partner. We do our best to plan to avoid it, but even the best planning does not always work. Jenkins puts forth some good suggestions in her column. I’ll list them in condensed form, but go read her column. Like everything she writes, it’s excellent.
Planning for Alzheimer’s
- Find a lawyer with specific experience in Alzheimer’s.
- Don’t pit family against each other.
- Legally state that if there is any change to your estate plan after your diagnosis, a medical evaluation will be rquired to ensure it’s your decision.
- Legally designate that a geriatric care social worker must be employed to facilitate your care
- Decide what your wishes are and provide for them.
A (temporary) Resolution for Sam?
According to a subsequent article, there was a hearing with regards to Sam last Friday. However, there was also an interim agreement between Sam’s daughter and his partner. Sam will be able to return home shortly. A full trial is scheduled for next March, but the parties will engage in mediation to try to come to an agreement. Meanwhile, poor Sam has been shuttled back and forth, has been kept from his loved ones by one side or the other, has had his family’s squabbles be public record. Plus, who knows how much in attorneys’ fees have been incurred.
Hopefully, Sam’s loved ones will come together for him, and work something out.