HB-1010 CAREGIVERS AS BENEFICIARIES - A bill with good intentions but removes freedom of choice
Okay, this is a bit complicated and while I understand what the bill is attempting to do, I want to make sure you understand what it looks like it actually does. THIS IS ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK. NOT WHAT I THINK. I know it won't sound that way as I write this but that's just the way I speak. I'm bossy. It's in my DNA.
Also, Representative Chris Turner's office has not returned my calls or email, most likely because I am not his constituent, so if you are in District 101 out of Arlington, you ARE his constituent, and that will get you a returned phone call and perhaps you will be able to get some additional clarification.
The link to a WFAA story by Tanya Eiserer (one of our many media heroes) at the end of this post explains what predicated the bill. A man with an intellectual disability appears to have been taken advantage of and the bill seeks to protect people with intellectual disabilities and prevent people from taking advantage of them. This is a good thing. We do not want people stolen from, scammed, or taken advantage of.
However, the bill language is muddy and prevents anyone with any kind of disability, including but not limited to intelluectual disabilities, who lives in an SSLC, ICF, ALF, or group home from exercising free choice if they are of sound mind and bequeathing to a caregiver. That is NOT a good thing and therein lies the problem with the bill.
Thousands of people live in ALFs and group homes because they need safety and supervision due to physical limitations or recovery reasons but they are of sound mind.
This bill removes their free choice.
It also removes free choice from people who made their choice prior to suffering cognitive decline.
Then there is also something unpleasant I hesitate to say. Frequently, one of the reasons that caregivers are mentioned in wills is because people often go years with no other family interaction at all.
Then, there's this. Who gets to decide what a "relative" is? We had that issue during lockdowns when a facility policy said only family was allowed to visit but the facility would not allow a lifelong friend or same sex partner or fiance' or common law spouse.
I am also sorry to say that I have learned of way too many family disputes re: caregiving these past three years that sound quite clear until you hear both sides. My own opinion - my OWN - is that if my mother with Alzheimer's had wanted to give her amazing nurse a gift in her will, she should have been allowed to do it.
So, despite how very bossy I sound, you draw your own conclusions based on the WFAA video and the text of HB1010 and then please consider submitting written testimony.
Again, it's about WHAT YOU THINK. You can also testify in person on March 14th.
Submit Written Testimony:
HB1010 Bill Text
Rep Chris Turner (only if he is YOUR representative)