Legal Question in Elder Law in Pennsylvania

Help I love my father very much. He is a physically great 83 years old. Since my mother passed in 2007 he is now managing his own finances. He spends way more than is his monthly income. He gives multiple times a month to fraudulent charities. He is resistive to sit and discuss his financial issues with both my brother and I. I do have access to view his banking statements with his knowledge. If he continues on the same path he will be forced to sell his home and declare bankruptcy. Do my brother and I have any legal ability to appoint someone to aid him with his finances and manage his money that he would not have the ability to create contracts and write checks?

Asked on 6/08/13, 8:54 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Yes. You and your brother need to have a frank talk with your father. Assuming your father is mentally competent, he could execute a financial power of attorney and allow you or your brother to assist him with his finances. Even absent a power of attorney, he could potentially sit down with you or your brother once a week and allow you to pay bills. However, you indicate that he refuses and this is going to be a problem.

The only other way is to apply for guardianship. The problem is that you have to show to the court that your father is mentally incompetent. While spending money on fake charities is troublesome, it does not not mean necessarily that your father is mentally incompetent. Have you or are you able to talk with your father's doctor? That may give you a clue. If the doctor suspects that something is wrong mentally, then I suggest that you talk with an elder law attorney regarding guardianship. Of course, your father is going to be party to any proceeding and if he doesn't like sitting down with you and your brother to discuss finances then he really is not going to be happy with you and your brother suing him to show that he is mentally incompetent to manage his financial affairs.

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Answered on 6/10/13, 9:01 pm

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