Author Topic: Financial Guardianship  (Read 1447 times)

AllieVaulter

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Financial Guardianship
« on: July 14, 2015, 05:00:14 PM »
I don't want to go into too many details, but my brother is in serious financial trouble.  He's on the autism spectrum and is very easy to take advantage of.  He's super generous, even when he has nothing to give.  He's currently picking up the pieces from a very bad situation where his two "friends" talked him into $60k debt on their part ("investing" in their business & signing a loan for their car).  My brother makes $15/hr and essentially has no savings. 

A doctor has suggested he get a financial guardian to prevent this sort of abuse in the future.  Does anyone have any experience with financial guardians?  I'm not sure how the relationship works, would he have any control at all over his money (ie grocery shopping)?  I dislike the idea of paying someone to be his guardian, but I almost feel like it would be worth it to save our family's relationship with him.  He can be very defensive and does not want to listen to us when we tell him things he doesn't want to hear.  (We're just now finding out how bad his "friends" were because every time he'd say something fishy we'd tell him that was no good so he just stopped talking about his "friends".)

I'm worried about him.  He's been living on his own for 8 years or so, so I imagine it would be a hard transition for him to lose all control of his finances.  OTOH, I don't want anything like this to happen to him again.

mrthreelittlebirds

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Re: Financial Guardianship
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2015, 08:29:26 PM »
Check with your local county probate court or developmental disability board. There are a couple different options. A person who needs a guardian is deemed incompetent by the court and has a guardian appointed, this could be a family member or someone not related. Some people with developmental disabilities or mental illness have what is called a payee that manages their money.  Either way if he needs a guardian you could still give him money before he goes shopping but every transaction would go through the guardian. 

Sorry I can't be more specific as laws vary by state and I only have some knowledge of this topic and more related to people who were not able to function as well as your brother.  Good luck and talk to a lawyer if you know one.

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ltt

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Re: Financial Guardianship
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 09:34:54 PM »
I believe there are two separate issues here, at least in our state there are two separate issues.  A guardian "guards" the person.  It sounds like your brother is fairly independent in this respect if he has been living on his own for 8 years.  A conservator takes control of the money.  Conservatorships are very detailed, so to speak---meaning you would account for all of his money spent down to the last penny (I believe you have to keep very detailed records to show the court) if you take conservatorship.  See a lawyer who deals with special needs individuals or a lawyer who has experience with this--maybe you could ask around your workplace.  You can call your local ARC organization in your state who may be able to tell you the name of a lawyer who might be able to answer your questions.

http://www.thearc.org/find-a-chapter

Also, we have a very independent child on the spectrum.  We are considering getting a power of attorney when he comes of age so we can deal with the bank, hospital, college if he attends, etc., without necessarily taking guardianship.  If your brother is ever hospitalized, with all of the privacy laws in place, would a hospital give you any information??  Would a bank ever give you any information??  I really think you and other family members need to sit down with someone who can guide you through this.  Keep us posted with what you find out.  This is not an easy road to travel.

AllieVaulter

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Re: Financial Guardianship
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2015, 02:00:57 PM »
Thanks for the information.  My parents are taking point on this whole situation, but I know they are very overwhelmed.  On top of everything else, they had a 6 week trip planned months ago, before we found out about how extensive the situation was.  So they're currently out of the country.  But at some point (hopefully far, far in the future), my parents won't be around.  I feel like I need to understand everything that's happening now because it will probably end up being my responsibility after my parents die. 

I live a few hours away from my brother, so I don't see him all that often, but we talk on the phone at least once a week.  The other day he texted me before he paid $40 for a Diablo game.  So I think that's a good sign.  I'll try and check in as we make progress.