Hampton, VA asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Virginia

Q: Can I be appointed as my brother's guardian? And would I be financially responsible for my brother's care?

My 71 yr old brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year. Humana Advantage Medicare denied his continued care at the rehab center as it reported that he was making progress (walking 20 feet with someone holding onto him is not progress). He lived alone & cannot live on his own anymore. His daughter-in-law has been undergoing chemo for Stage 4 uterine cancer for the past 5 months. His son is trying to work & take care & support his wife during this time. My brother's son & his wife have been trying to take care of his father but it has become hard on them emotionally, mentally & physically. The hospital says if they refuse to take my brother home, the hospital will file for guardianship & come after my nephew for the cost of my brother's care. I wish I could take physical care of my brother in my home but I have RA & some days I have to use a cane to get around, but I can help with the decision making & oversee his care. Thank you for any information.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Salem, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Short answer - yes, you can be appointed assuming your brother in law is not capable of granting a power of attorney. And no, you won't be financially responsible for his debts provided you ALWAYS say you're acting as guardian (or conservator.

BUT YOU NEED TO CONSULT A LAWYER. The process is complicated. "Elder Law" attorneys do this better than any other - you can find an elder law attorney here or at the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys website www.vaela.org (use the zip code lookup feature to find one near you)

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