If my brother is in a coma, how do I handle his finances?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my brother is in a coma, how do I handle his finances?

My brother suffered a brain bleed and is currently in ICU; he is not responsive. We’re trying to figure out to handle his finances such as credit card bills, housing and so forth.

Asked on October 28, 2018 under Estate Planning, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If he executed a power of attorney (POA) giving someone authority over his finances, that person can exercise the power.
If he did not, you will have to go to court and apply to have yourself (or another sibling or relative) appointed his legal guardian or conservator (either term may be used) during his period of incompetency (e.g. being unresponsive). Without a POA, you need a court order giving someone authority. Ideally, hire a family law attorney or a lawyer who handles elder law (they'd be familiar with the concepts to help you); if you can't afford a lawyer, contact the family court's clerk's office, explain the situation, and ask if they can point you to instructions and possibly sample forms.
Note that you can do much without either a POA or court order: for example, if you are willing and able to make some payments out of your own pocket, you can just send them in: so long as at least the minimum payment is made, for example, the credit card company doesn't care whose check pays it. You need the POA or court order mostly to access his bank, etc. accounts.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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