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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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I have a sister who is financially and mentally incapable of

Customer Question

I have a sister who is financially and mentally incapable of taking care of herself and I need to get legal guardianship How can I do that? She lives in Goodlettsville TN and has an appt with a therapist on Friday at a mental institution where they will remit her records to a psychiatrist. I must work fast as I live in South America She has no one else but me! No friends but a semi friend who when she is available will try to help out. Her debts are over $20,000 dollars. She's taking addictive pain killers. Please help me locate an attorney in the area whom I may present my case to or what do you suggest I do?.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I must leave Goodlettsville by next Thursday may 21 st. I live in South America. She is depressed was intoxicated with pain killers and twice had to be admitted to a mental health facility. The first time she was retained for a week. The second time she was released the following day. They gave her an appt for a therapist which she did not keep because it was at 8 am. I reset the spot which will take place on this Friday. Please give me some advise as to what I can do to gain guardianship over her. She is 71 years old, very hard of hearing and is in a daze. She has not paid her bills and in January I had to get her water reconnected. Please help me Ask the pertinent questions as I don't know what you need to know
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:
Have you attempted to contact a local attorney about this? Do you know whether your sister's doctors will certify that she is incompetent at the present time?
I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not know of a local attorney. Can you recommend one?? In the Nashville area?? That's why I wrote to you! My sister refuses to give me a power of attorney. On Friday she has the appt with a social worker and she herself doesn't think she needs a psychiatrist. She's in complete denial. She needs back surgery but the doctor refuses to operate on her being in this state of mind. Her finances are in very bad shape and I need to know how she can give me authorization in order to help her. But she won't let me help her. Please respond with an answer that helps me on a path to a solution. I'm desperate!!
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
I understand how frustrated and upset you are about this situation, but adults in the United States are presumed to be competent to handle their own affairs so you would not be able to act on her behalf unless:
1) Your sister grants to you power of attorney authority in writing to act on her behalf; or,
2) You are able to persuade a court, on a temporary and then permanent basis, that your sister is not competent to handle her own affairs and a guardian must be appointed to act on her behalf (you). To prove incapacity, you will typically need the sworn statement from one or more medical doctors, including a psychiatrist, providing an opinion that your sister is not competent to handle her own affairs.
So before retaining an attorney, you may wish to contact the medical providers and see whether they might be willing to sign such a statement. If so, then you would typically need to retain a family law attorney who handles guardianship matters for adults (not minors).
The state bar association can provide you with attorney referrals in your area. Here is a link to their website for your reference:
I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate my service when I have answered your questions so I will be compensated for my time assisting you. Thank you!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Another question please. What would happen if she is evicted from her house or if she doesn't pay her bills? Who would be responsible? Who would have to pay? She is a single person
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
Only she would typically suffer or be obligated to pay her bills. Unless someone has agreed in writing to be obligated to pay her debts, a creditor could only pursue her for payment normally. It is truly a shame she won't let you help her! Some people have to reach an all-time low before they realize they're not on a good path and need help.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So I guess my only recourse is to wait for the therapist to remit her to a psychiatrist and hopefully he/she will determine her to be incompetent and therefore get a court order to have legal guardianship over her health and finances. That brings me to another question. If I am designated as her guardian does that make me responsible for paying her bills? Not with my money because I don't have it to give to her but I imagine I would have to sell her house or declare bankruptcy or something of that sort. Is that correct?
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
Right, you do not become personally liable for her debts once appointed her guardian, but you would have to make some difficult choices for her if she does not have enough income to cover her debts.
All the best to you with this and I hope the medical providers cooperate in their judgment of her condition so you can assist her.