Can I file bankruptcy for my mother?

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2011

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Can I file bankruptcy for my mother?

My mother is 81 and is currently in a debt management program for credit cards. Along with the $371 per month for the debt program, she pays her phone bill and a personal loan which takes up all of her Social Security check of $670 per month. She has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and I am her POA. She does not understand (no matter how many times it is explained to her) that she does not have $670 to spend each month. As a result, she constantly overspends and I have to make it up.

Asked on January 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If the POA is a "broad" one--essentially unlimited--then you should be able to do this. However, many POA's are more limited, and a limited one probably would not grant you this power. You should take the POA to a bankruptcy attorney to both determine if you have the requisite authority and if bankruptcy is the best option (and which bankruptcy--chapter 7 or chapter 13). If you don't have enough authority, you may need to have your mother declared incompetent and get guardianship over her, which should then give the authority to you need to do this--and if she has Alzheimers, you may wish to do this anyway. An attorney with elder law experience can help you understand you options in this regard.

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