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The Moneyist: My father got here to my brother's Holy Communion with cocaine. He hit the taxi driver. Am I answerable for his terminal care?

My parents divorced when I was very young because my father was a physically and emotionally abusive alcohol and drug addict.

Although my brother and I spent weekends with him sporadically in elementary school, I stopped visiting him during my middle school years and broke all contact when I turned 18.

He's getting older now and I've kept an eye on him through mutual friends and family. I know he has been unemployed for 20 years and would be homeless if it weren't for the girlfriend he lives with, even though it sounds like she recently kicked him out.

He still drinks and smokes heavily and as far as I know, and he also abuses other drugs. I think he has outstanding gambling debts, as well as debts for bailers, parking tickets and fines, credit cards, etc.

He has a variety of medical problems and is in poor health, but he is not dying, although I suspect that given his destructive lifestyle, his health will deteriorate rapidly over the next decade.

""He's not someone I want in my life, especially now that I have children of my own."

He's not someone I want in my life, especially now that I have children of my own. The last time I saw him was when he showed up with cocaine and hit his cab driver in front of the church during my brother's Holy Communion.

As my husband and I plan our future, I wonder what impact my surefire father will have on our lives. Are there any responsibilities I have as an adult child, such as medical care or financial obligations?

I don't know if he has a will or what is in it, and honestly I am worried that he might have a provision that could affect my future, e.g. do not want.

I'm also concerned that he might list me as his health officer on a medical certificate. Could I be hooked for his unplanned end-of-life care, or worse, any financial obligations he has? I don't want to deal with him now or in the future.

Thank you for any advice you can give.

The daughter

You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus to qfottrell@marketwatch.com and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear daughter,

When you think of the Holy of Holies, most people don't think of it – including the taxi driver, I'm sure -. I'm sorry that happened on your brother's big day. Nothing was sacred to your father. A child needs stability and a sense of security, and having such an unpredictable figure in their life can lead to years, even a lifetime, of fear and trauma.

It can help to think of your father as sick rather than bad and lost, rather than cruel. This could help you heal and forgive him so that you can break away from the anger and humiliation of such incidents. I am saying this because I suspect that part of your fear of what will happen now is related to your experience of dealing with a very volatile person. That is, you can refuse a person's power of attorney.

Child responsibility laws exist in over two dozen states, but the courts rarely enforce them. A relatively well-known case in Pennsylvania in 2012, Health Care & Ret. Corp. of On v. Pittas, brought the issue of child responsibility back into the public eye. In it, a son was held liable for his mother's $ 93,000 nursing home bills, but the circumstances were very unusual.

"A child needs to feel safe, and a person in their life who is so unpredictable can lead to a life of fear and trauma.

His mother, who was over 60, was injured in a car accident and was sent to a nursing home. She was then taken to Greece, where two of her other children lived, removing them from the jurisdiction of the courts and the nursing home's debt collection agencies and leaving the bill unpaid. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the house.

Each case is unique, of course, and there has not been a deluge of similar cases, as one sometimes suspects after such a judgment. Your father was not there for his children, and a judge would take this into account in the unlikely event that a foster home came after you to pay bills, even if your father lived in any of the 29 states with such laws.

These are old laws. "US. Child Responsibility Laws were derived from England's Elizabethan Poor Relief Act of 1601, which required the grandparents, parents and children of every poor, blind, lame, and impotent person to give that person financial support if they could was the Burke, Costanza, and Carberry law firm.

Federal and state laws allow Medicaid to seek reimbursement from recipients' estates. However, more and more recipients are hiding their financial assets in order to meet Medicaid standards. Some seniors transfer their property to their children through trusts in order to become Medicaid eligible without risking their children's inheritance, ”she added.

But that's not the case here. You are out of your father's life and he is no longer in your life causing chaos. It can be difficult to sleep soundly while he's alive as your childhood self expects its problems to knock on your door again and your adult self mourn the father you wanted but never did, the a father could also be a grandfather to your children.

Of course, a lawyer would give you the best advice, and a therapist could help you break down all of the tangled feelings about this man who was once so important in your life. His shadow remains, but it is only a shadow, and from what you have told me, you can look to the future without your father's life or death really affecting your peaceful existence.

You have the right to be happy and to be free.

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The moneyist regrets not being able to answer questions one by one.More from Quentin Fottrell:

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