How canI get free legal help for my mentally ill sister who is in thousandsof debt?

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How canI get free legal help for my mentally ill sister who is in thousandsof debt?

My sister has a mental illness and I am her conservator. I am trying to handle her expenses but where do I begin? They are totalling $15,000. She is scheduled to go to court on 4/1 for a credit card charge. She receives disability and has not worked for the past 2 years due to her illness. I need to find an attorney that is willing to work pro bono. I have exhausted my means trying to keep my sister off the street. Please me or let me know who might be able to help me.

Asked on March 25, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you are to be commended for all that you have obviously done (and will do) for your sister.  As to your immediate concern, yes you may be Ave to get free or low cost legal help. There are agencies (private and government) that provide free representation to people who qualify' eligabiltiy requirements vary from one state-to-state.  Legal Aid is one of those services.   If you don't qualify for help from there, you can check to see if there is a law school nearby to where your lives; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  You can also contact the local Bar Association in her county; they may have a list of attorneys who will take her case "pro bono" or at least for a reduced fee based on herr income/circumstances.  Additionally, google support groups for the mentally disabled; they may be able to provide a list of attorneys who can help.  Finally, try contacting your state's Department of Social Services, they should have resources for free legal services.

By the way, if a judgement is obtained against your sister, her creditor(s) cannot garnish her disability checks.  Although they could freeze her bank account, if she has one,. You would then have to go through some paperwork but you could get her money released.  However since you have a conservatorship in place this probably is of no concern for you.


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