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The Baker Act: Removal From House Against Will?

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  • NoraS
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    I would try to find an attorney and see what can be set up to protect you. I had a greedy aunt who robbed my grandmother blind and then convinced her to sell her house for a fraction of its value, in spite of the house only being in Grandma's name. Not the same situation, but you really need to find someone in authority to be on your side.

    As far as hoarding vs. supplies: My mother snipes at me regularly that I'm a hoarder. I point out the fact that her income is 3 times what mine will ever be, and since she doesn't have to worry about money she just buys what she wants whenever she wants, even if she threw away a perfectly good one of those last week. I'm on a very fixed income, so I stock up when I can and don't toss practical items just because I haven't used them this month. It's all carefully organized in my walk-in linen closet and on the cellar shelves, and it eases my mind knowing that I won't run out of necessary items if I can't get to a store.

    On a good note, I believe that Pennstater is correct about the difficulty of taking over someone's life. According to disabilityrightspa (dot org), "A PA court may appoint a guardian of the person [or their estate]...if it determines after a hearing that the person is incapacitated." This is described as being someone whose thinking and communication skills are significantly impaired to the extent that they can no longer manage their finances or "meet essential requirements for his physical health and safety." The part I like is "The guardian must not have interests that conflict with those of the incapacitated person", which would include your closest living relative.

    Anyone trying to get guardianship of you or your estate must prove to the court, through trained professionals, that you are no longer fit to look after yourself. If I'm reading this correctly, you cannot be declared incapacitated if you have set up a durable power of attorney, a trust, or have the help of friends or assorted agencies who can provide what you need. It's a complicated, scary process, so please find a professional who can help you. Perhaps there's a local disability organization that can point you in the right direction?

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  • pennstater
    replied
    So stressful. I am sorry to hear you are suspicious of your brother's motives. Have you shared any MS literature with him related to invisible symptoms? It can be hard because you can't educate someone who doesn't want to be educated.

    I think in PA, it is hard to involuntary commit anyone. Are you worried he will try to sell the house and then be your trustee, since the house title is in your name? You can always consult an attorney, possibly naming a different trustee should it ever be needed.

    There is also a big difference in having some extra items in your house, versus hoarding. And what can be one person's clutter, is someone else's system. I would just make sure you don't have so much stuff that safety hazards exist. It doesn't sound like you have a problem. I know a few people who do have this issue, just an aisle to walk thru in each room and you have to open each cupboard slowly - never know what could fall out. Always worry that if any health aide comes in, they will be reported.

    I truly hope you are worried for nothing.

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  • dm0329
    started a topic The Baker Act: Removal From House Against Will?

    The Baker Act: Removal From House Against Will?

    Although I live in the state of Pennsylvania, I understand that The Baker Act (removal from one's house because they are a threat to themselves or others) is prevalent in some Florida communities. Perhaps I am "a bit paranoid" but I am having troubling issues with my only sibling (brother).

    Well, I thought we were close growing up, but upon our parents death, after a few years, the house was signed over to my (title in my name only) and I have been paying taxes, insurance, utilities, etc., for the last nine years. Long story, short: He comes home and visits me once a year (as I have SPMS, "but still look so good" LOL, due to self-injecting Avonex these past 24 years). I "medically retired" at age 45 mostly due to fatigue and cognitive issues. Progressive diseases progress; but he doesn't see it. He calls it "the MS Monster" while I say "it is ME with MS 28+ years now).

    Ultimately, he refuses to help me when I ask him to do things for me yet; he does help in his own way, but it's JUST HOUSEHOLD or LAWN MAINTENCE ISSUES. This past trip home, for weeks, he's been telling me "he will go stay with his "friend" with whom he traveled with" if I was "abusive" to him? What? Please explain, I ask? I may be no angel, but please. . .???

    With the good fortune of the stimulus checks, I had the money to replace the 30+ year old refrigerator in the home (although working it was the best use of the monies as it was old and my Avonex is vital and stays cool, etc.). So, I put the money to good use (or so I thought). To try to make things easy, I ordered the unit on-line to be delivered when he was visiting. It was a catastrophe.

    I thought I purchased the unit new, but it came USED, DAMAGED & DIRTY!!! Good thing someone else was here, as I need assistance with things. I have low vision issues, and he saw the damage and took pics with his phone. Ultimately, when I needed help putting up the last two shelves (the delivery personnel had left); he was enraged that I stand up for myself? He said to me: "This is your house. Stand up for yourself." Ouch! I was at my limit!

    At that time, I said it may be best that he go and stay with his friend at the hotel (as he's been threatening me for weeks). I said, if you can't help me anymore, then you should leave. Also, earlier in the week, I joked that I was recording him "when he was saying very inappropriate things" to me. He got a good job and moved to FL two weeks after I was dx with MS (we were both in our early 20's). Invisible disabilities are tough; he says I'm playing a game, blah, blah, blah.

    I'm worried because he seems more interested in the "equity in the house" than his sister. Also, the person he brought with him, had her brother (who also lives in PA) removed from his home on similar Baker Act grounds. He's actually "counting the number of tubes of toothpaste" that I have in my laundry closet (3), and he says "I have more clothes in my closet" than last time??? He says "Im a hoarder" and I say "I like having a few back up items" as fatigue issues get to me sometimes or I may be snowed in? What's the big deal? Seems like he's "fishing" for incompetency issues? WTF?

    Has anyone dealt with these issues? Family: you can't live with them & you can't live without them? What should I do to protect myself? Thanks, in advance, for your help and/or suggestions.
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