incompetent person filing bankruptcy Tag

06 Sep Can a Person in a Coma File Bankruptcy?

Several times a year, I get calls from potential clients who want to know how they can get a bankruptcy filed on behalf of a parent or other relative who is incapacitated because of dementia, or who is unconscious and/or in a coma. Usually these situations involve a pending foreclosure, where the homeowner is not competent to file a bankruptcy case, but an adult child wants to use Chapter 13 to stop the foreclosure. The bankruptcy law does allow a living, but incompetent person to file bankruptcy. Ideally, the relatives should first obtain an order of guardianship from the local probate or appropriate state court in the jurisdiction where the incompetent person lives. If an order of guardianship has been issued, it means that a state court judge has reviewed the affected person’s medical records and has made a finding that the person does not have the capacity to make decisions. Most guardianship orders specifically identify the powers assigned to the guardian. If the concerned relatives anticipate a bankruptcy filing, they should ask the state court judge to specifically include the authority to file a bankruptcy case. Bear in mind, however, that your state’s rules about filing for a guardianship may require various notices and a hearing and that the process could take several months.
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