How do I protect my father’s assets if he’s mentally incompetent?

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How do I protect my father’s assets if he’s mentally incompetent?

My father had a stroke a week and a half ago. He lives in another state. I just found out that he’s having major memory loss as well as hallucinations. I found out last night that he gave away a large amount of money. What can I do to protect him?

Asked on June 4, 2018 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You would have to bring a legal action to have a court declare him incompetent (based on medical evidence--e.g. the tesimony of and reports from physicians who have examined or treated him)  to manage his own affairs and have someone (you) appointed his legal guardian to manage his affairs for him. This action would be brought in family court. I can be brought on an expedited ("emergent") basis to get it done more quickly than legal actions generally take. This would be a *very* complicated action for a layperson (non-lawyer) to bring and then prove (i.e. obtain, marshal, and present the evidence of incompetency); if you want to explore this option, consult with an elder law attorney, who can help you bring the action.  Until he is declared incompetent, he can continue to give away his money or take other unfortunate actions: do not delay in acting.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You would have to bring a legal action to have a court declare him incompetent (based on medical evidence--e.g. the tesimony of and reports from physicians who have examined or treated him)  to manage his own affairs and have someone (you) appointed his legal guardian to manage his affairs for him. This action would be brought in family court. I can be brought on an expedited ("emergent") basis to get it done more quickly than legal actions generally take. This would be a *very* complicated action for a layperson (non-lawyer) to bring and then prove (i.e. obtain, marshal, and present the evidence of incompetency); if you want to explore this option, consult with an elder law attorney, who can help you bring the action.  Until he is declared incompetent, he can continue to give away his money or take other unfortunate actions: do not delay in acting.


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