What Do We Do About Aunt Sue? When an Elderly Childless Relative is Struggling... - Makofsky Valente Law Group, P.C.

How do we help our Aunt Sue?” was the question posed by her niece and nephews. Their Aunt Sue, 86, had been found wandering her neighborhood. She had forgotten where she lived and didn’t recognize her own home. Aunt Sue had never married or had children of her own but was very close to her late sister’s children, a girl and two boys. She doted on them and attended every recital and school event. Their successes and failures were hers as well. Now, as adults, they want to help her but don’t know how.

Aunt Sue owns a home she inherited from her parents – it’s stuffed with memories, papers, and clothing. She receives a monthly pension and social security payments, but she has begun to fall behind on her bills. Aunt Sue has always lived well, but her niece and nephews don’t know what her assets are. She never put a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy in place, so her family members are unable to help with her finances or give direction as to health care. They are extremely concerned.

What should they do?
With no Power of Attorney or other documents in place, the family cannot easily step in to help Aunt Sue. They need the help of an Elder Law attorney who can guide them through the guardianship process, which involves petitioning the court to appoint a guardian, and specifying what powers that guardian needs to care for Aunt Sue, financially and otherwise. The Guardianship Court will appoint a Court Evaluator to interview Aunt Sue and all interested parties and to locate and identify Aunt Sue’s assets. The Court Evaluator will later report to the Court whether he/she believes Aunt Sue is incapacitated and needs a guardian, and what powers that guardian should be given. Once appointed, the guardian will be able to help Aunt Sue with her bills and her health care.

The good news is that we are extremely experienced in Guardianship proceedings – both bringing them and defending against them. And attorney’s fees are most often paid directly from the incapacitated person’s funds. Know that you are not alone in this situation – we can help! Remember, we are only a phone call or e-mail away.

This is the second in a series on “How your Elder Law Attorney Can Help You” in honor of Elder Law Month. Stay tuned for the next installment coming next week!

The information provided in this email does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.

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