How can I take care of my unmarried brother’s financial obligations now that he is in a coma and has no Power of Attorney?


My brother is in a coma and will likely not recover to the point of being able to work or care for himself. I need to take care of his bills, loan accounts and bank account and start the process of obtaining disability benefits and Medicare for him. He has no Power of Attorney, spouse or children. Upon discharge from the hospital, he will be moved to a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. How can I obtain the legal authority to take care of his financial responsibilities and obtain the financial and medical assistance he needs?


You will need to apply for a conservatorship in order to gain control over his bank accounts and any real estate.  To make medical decisions, you will also need to file for a guardianship.  You do not need these to begin the application process for Medicaid. (However, you will have to provide the state agency financial records to receive the approval.) You will have upfront costs, such as filing fees. However, once you are appointed as guardian and conservator, you can reimburse yourself for the expenses from your brother’s assets. You should consult with an attorney who is also well versed in elder law.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

The elder law attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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