don't know where to begin

flowersnowJune 26, 2009

I have no idea where to begin. My brother in unmarried, early 40's, and has been fighting cancer for 3 years. Up till now, he has been independent and working. Now, he's having seizures so much he can't work. He has now said that he can't live by himself. We have no idea where to begin. What financial info do we need to do? It's so hard to talk to him, he's very private. I live 3 hours away from him, mom and sis are about 1.5 hours from him. Do we go ahead and sell house? Put everything in a trust? Who can help us with this new road? Social worker? Lawyer?

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To begin with, his days of privacy in such matters are over. Is he requesting that he live with you from now on? If so, whatever you may or may not be willing to do must begin with full disclosure -- from him. Until you've gotten at least that far, you won't know what you're dealing with. Whatever you do will require his cooperation. If he will not give it, stay away. If he will, there may be many options to consider.

Without knowing any more about his and your situation, I'm reluctant to suggest more. But there's no question what comes first.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:20PM
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You could try to put it to him in terms of making sure he doesn't burden his family with a messy, prolonged settling of his legal and financial affairs should he become disabled or die. When people are grieving, it is unfair and unpleasant to be further burdened by trying to handle the tangled affairs of a loved one who didn't let anyone know anything or help out in any way.

Moreover, if he doesn't set up a will, durable healthcare power of attorney (aka advanced health directive) and power of attorney, his family WILL have to go to court for approval when death or disability affects him. There is no way around this, and it costs money to do it. He must set these documents up when he is 'compos mentis' - legally sound of mind, uninfluenced by anyone and anything else (like drugs, prescription or otherwise).

It is time he made his preferences known for what kind of care he wants, in different future scenarios. Then discuss if it is affordable and realistic. Web research will help you a lot but be aware that state laws vary so much you cannot just depend on only the info you get in an anonymous Net forum like this.

Yes it is hard to have this kind of discussion in a family, but make it clear you really need to know so that he can tell his family what HE wants. Right now you have no real clue. Does he really want to have his family guessing what he might prefer if he becomes disabled?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 11:45AM
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