Positive steps for Richardson (TX) couple trapped in questionable guardianship

Elderly Couple Won’t Lose House, For Now
Becky Oliver
September 1, 2009
KDFW/FOX4
http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/investigative/Elderly_Couple_Wont_Lose_Hous
DALLAS – A victory for a Richardson couple at war with the state over their mental condition and their money. Michael and Jean Kidd’s home was not sold on the courthouse steps and now the judge is clarifying his orders.

“I could have gotten out of bed and danced the jig,” Michael Kidd said after hearing about the status of his home.

Relief is all Michael and Jean Kidd are feeling right now. A trustee’s deed filed in mid August indicated their home would be sold on the courthouse steps . The foreclosure sale was called off, at least for now.

“Just knowing that the pressure if off for awhile, that is what made me the happiest,” Kidd said.

“I sure felt like we were deserted by the whole world for awhile. It makes me feel a whole lot better,” Jean said.

The state placed the Kidds in the Countryside Nursing Home after deciding the couple, age 67 and 70, could not manage their affairs. Michael had fallen and broken his hip. The hospital called Adult Protective Services after Jean had been in the waiting room for several days. Jean suffers from memory loss. The state took over all of the Kidd’s money, appointed them a financial guardian and sent them off to Pilot Point.

Their Richardson house was left vacant. The Kidd’s have no idea how much money is left or how it is being spent.

“I need some explanations,” said Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound. “I want to know how that can happen,” Senator Nelson says she is so outraged with the Kidd’s story she wrote the Commissioner of Health and Human Services a letter. Nelson asked the Department to re-evaluate the Kidd’s medical condition and whether they even need a guardian.

“I just can’t imagine how this can happen. It is so degrading,” said Nelson.

The judge on the Kidd’s case, Weldon Copeland, won’t comment. He approved the appointment of the Kidd’s financial guardian in Greenville. That guardian must get approval from the judge if he plans to sell the Kidd’s house some time down the road.

Late Tuesday, Fox 4 obtained an order signed by Judge Copeland clarifying his original order about the guardianship and some of the Kidd’s rights. It states the Kidds can now talk to anyone they want, look for a new guardian and can get their own medical records. No mention, however, about their finances and how their money is being spent.

Elderly Couple’s House Set for Sale
Becky Oliver
August 31, 2009
KDFW/FOX4
http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/investigative/Elderly_Couples_House_Set_for
DALLAS – The state is playing hard ball with an elderly couple who claims they are being held against their will. Michael and Jean Kidd just want to get out of the nursing home and back into their house but Fox 4 has learned the home may not be around if the state follows through with its plan.

“I just want to go home and I have made it very clear,” said Michael Kidd.

Michael and Jean Kidd say they have been held against their will for months in a Pilot Point Nursing Home.

“We watch television almost constantly, almost 24 hours a day because if you turn it off, the silence will drive you up the wall,” Kidd explained.

UPDATE

The Kidds lost their freedom and now it appears they may lose their greatest asset, their home. A trustee’s deed filed in mid August shows the Kidd’s Richardson home is scheduled to be auctioned Tuesday.

“I could not believe that what I was seeing was taking place in this country,” said Senator Jane Nelson.

Nelson heads the committee that oversees the Department of Aging and Disability. That agency is now the Kidd’s guardian.

The state determined the Richardson couple was incapacitated or unable to care for themselves after Michael went to the hospital with a broken hip. Jean suffers from memory loss. The state took over all of their finances and placed them in a nursing home.

“I think we have way overstepped our bounds,” said Senator Nelson. Nelson says she was appalled to see how the state is taking care of the Kidd’s home. The power was shut off, leaving a mess in the kitchen. There is a broken window and the yard is overgrown. And now the state is trying to unload their neglected house for $156,000.00.

Collin County appraised the home this year for $191,000.00

“This whole thing is completely botched by the state of Texas,” said Harold Willis. Willis is a gerontologist and a registered private guardian. His is an advocate of keeping the elderly in their homes with assistance, instead of an expensive nursing home. He says, based on his experience, there were many options the state should have considered.

“They were not just mumbling and drooling on themselves,” Willis said. “They were expressing themselves very clearly and their wishes should be honored,” he said.

Both Willis and Nelson questioned how the Kidds are getting Medicaid assistance when they have assets, income and a home.

The state has refused to release any financial records to the Kidds or to us about their money.

Probate Judge Weldon Copeland will not comment about the Kidd’s case but we know he approved the appointment of a financial guardian, Michael Taylor of Greenville, Texas. The state confirms Taylor is not a registered guardian in Texas.

“How can the state have that much power?” Reporter Becky Oliver asked Senator Nelson.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Nelson said. “But I will find out how in the world our state can justify doing some of these things,” Nelson promised.

Late Monday, two attorneys were working to get a petition for a temporary restraining order filed with the Probate Court to stop the sale of the house.

Sept. 1 Update: There was a victory for a Richardson couple at war with the state over their mental condition and their money. Michael and Jean Kidd’s home was not sold on the courthouse steps and now the judge is clarifying his orders.

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