Virginia Power Of Attorney
Q: My roomie's stepsister was attacked by her husband two weeks ago and left for dead. The husband apparently struck her over and over and over again in the head with a hammer. She's alive but it's a long, painful road of rehab and hospitals for her. I'm just absolutely sick about this. Anyhow the asshole turned himself in. This was all in Virginia and I am curious as to what happens now, legally speaking. So far the family has run into problems with her house being in both her name and the husband's, so they don't want to pay the mortgage (and thus pay for half of the asshole's property). I could really use some advice to recommend to the family on what they need to do since half the stuff is in his name, and also since she may not be fully mentally capable of doing anything anymore. And what will happen to him? Does he get a trial or just sentenced?
A: Very complicated, but my niece just had an awful situation with her own husband being arrested....and there's property *and* their child involved. First, the family needs to contact an attorney NOW. They may not want to make the house payments but they have to remember that half the equity is hers. In fact, if this is not a community property state, they may be able to file to get the property into her name only ....and it sounds like the money may be needed for medical expenses. Unless there's NO equity in the home, don't let it be repossessed. If she is incapable at the present, a power of attorney needs to be given to someone who can act in her behalf and represent her legal/monetary interests. If money is short, this may even involve getting Medicaid to help pay the medical bills. The local courts should have a victims' advocacy system, which should help with the legal issues, too. Every hospital has a social worker, who can help make referrals to Medicaid, social services agencies, and should be savvy enough to help them locate the advocate system. As for him: just because he turned himself in, doesn't mean that he's entered a plea in a court of law. Therefore, the big worry is that *his* legal expenses could eat up all the money the couple had together, without someone representing her interests. Don't let him (or his family) do anything to get that power of attorney; they could sell the home, car(s), furniture and anything else, and she'd have nothing.
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