elder law attorney

Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent? A Kansas City Elder Attorney weighs in. 

Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent? A Kansas City Elder Attorney weighs in. 

Everyone is obligated, to some degree, to take on a caregiving role at some point in their lives. For some, this may mean caring for a friend, a significant other, or even a neighbor. For most of us, it’s our parents or grandparents.

Right now, thirty-nine percent of adults in the U.S. are caring for a loved one with significant health issues. Elder care is a natural part of life and a common practice in our society. However, oftentimes people feel unequipped or confused about the elder care process. It’s understandable, that some may need to refuse to care for their elderly parents.

The professionals at Paths Law Firm meet with many clients every year to have difficult but necessary conversations about aging, end of life care, health issues, and other topics that concern the people in our community.

Read on to learn more about the common arguments behind refusing care for an elderly parent.

*This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The use of the Paths Law Firm website does not constitute a client-lawyer relationship.

Concerns people have with refusing care for elderly parents

Missouri VA & Long-Term Care Lawyer

My elderly parent and I have a rocky relationship.

The concept of a family coming together in love and adoration to care for their aging loved ones—without argument or issue—is sometimes a bit of a falsehood. While many families are happy and supportive, there are many others who experience everyday problems, too. 

Especially for those who once endured a less-than-ideal childhood, even traumatic or abusive environments, many find that they grapple with the idea of refusing to care for an elderly parent for the well-being of the child or the child’s family. 

With the right help, many find that feelings of guilt or stress surrounding the care of elderly parents is eased. From counselors and psychologists to Geriatric Care Managers and legal guardianship programs, there are numerous resources available to help you tackle these tough topics—with no regrets. Even leaning on your siblings or other family members may help bring comfort and resources not easily found on your own.

It’s a time and/or financial commitment I can’t afford.

There are times when people feel they must refuse to care for their elderly parents because of time or financial issues. Depending on your unique situation, this may not be as much of a barrier as you think! The severity of mom or dad’s health condition may give you an idea of how involved you may need to be in the caregiving process.

How to talk to aging loved ones →

Before anything else, be sure to check with an elder law attorney to see if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid or VA benefits, especially if assisted living or the nursing home is a likely resolution. This program can help mitigate a significant amount of cost related to the care of your elderly parent, including nursing home costs, doctors appointments, and more. Your lawyer can also help you create a trust or living will, and even help you locate an affordable senior living facility if needed!

Another source of income you may have available is your loved one’s home equity. Taking out a home equity line of credit or home equity loan may help you get your loved one the care they need at much less personal expense.

Once you determine how much assistance or resources you may be able to tap into, be sure to discuss with other responsible family members the different ways you may be able to divide the costs to help ease pressure off a single caregiver. You can even write a plan for who will be the legal guardian, who will have power of attorney, who will oversee medical decisions, and so on.

Check out our Caring for Aging Parents Checklist for more helpful information →

My elderly parent lives too far away for me to help them.

Caring for an elderly parent over long-distance doesn’t always have to be difficult. By finding a support network in the area of your aging loved one, you can keep tabs on their health and well-being without extensive travel. 

That said, you don’t have to live near your aging parent to assist in their care. Calling to make doctor appointments, researching senior living facilities, speaking with an elder care attorney, and arranging other activities for them can all be accomplished over the phone or online!

It’s too painful to be involved in this process.

As an elder law attorney in Missouri, we sincerely understand the pain that can be involved in caring for elderly parents. Seeing your parents in a state of mental or physical decline can be shocking, stressful, and a bunch of other emotions that we don’t need to list if you’re already searching for how to refuse care for an elderly parent. 

Take it from us—those feelings are totally natural and a part of life that almost all of us experience at some point. However, by refusing care for your elderly parent, that can also mean potentially sacrificing time with them. These experiences can bring many of us long-term benefits and meaningful memories that long outweigh the negative feelings you may experience along the way.

Learn more about elder care in Kansas City from the experts at Paths Elder Law

End of life care can induce feelings of guilt, stress, anxiety, and sadness. Taking advice from experts and finding the right resources can help clarify your journey and help you enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.

Need more help with navigating the confusing world of end of life care and assisting your elderly parents and other aging loved ones through it all?

Reach out to Paths Law Firm today to schedule a consultation and you’ll be one step closer to the peace of mind you’re searching for.


Educational Seminar at Paths Law Firm

Paths Law Firm provides a Free Educational Elder Law Seminar every month to help you plan for your future.

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan Foley at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 2018 and passed the Missouri Bar that year. Prior to law school, Ryan attended the University of Missouri – Columbia where he attained a degree in Business. He is a Kansas City native, growing up in the Northland where he achieved his Eagle Scout rank by doing a project for his high school. During his time in law school, Ryan was introduced to the practice area of Elder Law by one of his professors and has been

Ryan enjoys working with and educating clients to provide advocacy and support during the unfamiliar and often overwhelming probate process. Ryan understands the challenges faced by individuals when faced by the uncertainty and complexity of government systems or even handling a Trust during a time of grief, and he strives to make the process as easy as possible.

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

administrative assistant at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

Makaylee is currently working on her bachelor’s in political science and hopes to soon start law school as an aspiring attorney. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family but most importantly her dogs Taffyta, Tallulah Belle, and Harry. Their favorite thing to do is go on coffee dates and get pup cups.


Kathleen E. Overton

Kathleen Overton, attorney at Paths Law


Kathleen E. Overton

After starting her career as a disability attorney, Kathleen transitioned into estate planning at a mid-sized regional law firm. Kathleen joined Paths Law Firm in 2021 when she decided to return to a boutique law firm that provides excellent service and quality to clients. Because of her background as a disability attorney, she brings a thorough understanding of public benefits to each client meeting. At Paths Law FIrm, Kathleen focuses on traditional estate planning and business entity formation, providing tailored advice unique to each client’s situation.

Public Benefits Assistant

Tena K. Dooley

Public Benefits Assistant

Amanda D. Martin

I have my Associates in Applied Science and have over 20 years of office management experience. I have two daughters and one grandson.

During my time away from the office I enjoy spending time with my family.  I enjoy almost everything outdoors and my hobbies include fishing and gardening.


Sydney R. Morris

Paths Law elder law in Kansas City



Sydney is currently enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City pursuing an accounting degree and plans to later attend law school.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her nephews and volunteering at her local church.



Christy L. Phillips

client service manager at Paths Law


Christy L. Phillips

Phone: 816-640-8635
Email: [email protected]

Christy has 3 years of experience in Elder Law working for seniors and their families as a Benefits Coordinator processing Medicaid and VA applications. Prior to joining Paths Law Firm Christy worked in the finance industry for over 10 years.


Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as Benefits Coordinator. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to her relationship with her grandparents.

When asked why she loves what she does, Christy said that at Paths Elder law, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite part of her job is getting clients approved for Medicaid or VA benefits as it is a huge relief for them and their loved ones.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has two children that keep her busy and fill her life with joy! Christy’s daughter cheers for Avila University, and her son plays competitive baseball for the Bucks and races BMX locally for the Motorcycle Closeout Team.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and making homemade gifts for her loved ones and raising her kids to be healthy, happy, and positive humans.


Practice Areas

  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits


Professionalc Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary


René A. Fracassa

Rene A. Fracassa, Paths Law



René has worked along side Rusty for 35 years. Not only is she part of the Paths team, she is also his wife. René spends her time working with the accountant to keep all of the finances in order, as well as general office management.

In addition to helping run the office, she helps manage the family and grandkids, tries to keep everyone fed, and has a passion to teach Bible Studies. Her former career in Event Planning trained her to juggle all the activity. She understands Rusty’s passion to serve people from the first mention of law school. It is a great pleasure for her to be an important part of every area of his life.



Hilary R. Tichota

Hillary at Paths Law



Hilary plays a vital role in the daily operations of the office. In addition to her regular office duties, Hilary has a heart of gold.

For more than 5 years, Hilary has operated the front desk at Paths, running the office and catering to clients. Hilary recently moved into the role of Community Relations Coordinator. She has a passion for people and a focus to share our business practices with the community’s seniors, businesses, and clients. She especially has a heart for seniors, showing they are loved through her visits, treats, the “Pen to Pal” program, and volunteering services at various senior living communities. She is a wonderful wife and mother of two. Most activities with seniors involve her great talent for any type of craft.



Jennifer A. Bronson

Jennifer, senior paralegal



Jennifer has been in the legal field for over 25 years and considers Paths her second home.

When she’s not running the office or working for our clients, she’s spending time with her first passion – her children.


Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

attorney at Paths Law elder law


Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

Phone: 816-640-8635

When asked what he wants to do, his reply was “I just want to sit at the kitchen table and work directly with people.” Rusty enjoys working with clients providing experienced advocacy and supporting them through their unfamiliar and overwhelming situations. Due to all the challenges faced by seniors, it is essential to work with an experienced elder law attorney who has expertise in the law, issues, and concerns affecting seniors and their families.

Rusty brings nearly 30 years legal experience and expertise working for seniors and their families as an elder law attorney in Kansas City and surrounding. Prior to law school, Rusty was a practicing accountant. This provides invaluable experience in his current practice of law. Rusty decided to put his focus on helping the elderly, vulnerable adults, and their families navigate challenging life, end of life, and death events.

Rusty understands the challenges faced by individuals whose capacity is declining and how upsetting the loss of a loved one can be. He understands he may not be able to eliminate his client’s grief from loss, but he strives to provide clients with peace of mind. Rusty works directly with client’s long term care issues, including Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Special Needs Planning.

In 2010, Rusty’s faith and love led him and part of his family to China as Christian missionaries. He and his wife, went permanently, but ended up dedicating 3 years to that ministry. They returned to Missouri to help with grandchildren after a family tragedy and later began anew with Paths Elder Law. The goal is providing compassionate care through legal advocacy.

When Rusty is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, and excessive eating at local restaurants.


Practice Areas


  • Wills and Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits
  • Probate
  • Guardianship and Conservatorships
  • Education


BSBA and Master’s in Accounting, Master’s in Inter-Cultural Studies, and Doctorate in Juris Prudence

  • Rockhurst University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City

Admissions to Practice

  • Missouri

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of Missouri
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (long-time Member)
  • Elder Counsel (Charter and Ongoing Member)
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (Past Member)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Missouri State Bar Committees – Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate