My father has had a stroke and has no will. How do I ensure his things are taken care of?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 04, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father has had a major stroke and has no will. As his daughter, what can i do to ensure his things are taken care of? He is married -- not to my mother.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

It sounds as if you're most concerned about how your father's property would b distributed at his death. Under Colorado law, if he dies intestate, or without a will, his property would go to his spouse.

If that is not your father's wish, it may not be too late for him to make a will including others in the plan to receive his property. State law requires only that a person have "testamentary capacity" to make a will. And that means simply that your father must:

  • understand the nature of the act
  • knows the extent of his property
  • understand will's provisions and recognize who would naturally be expected to receive his property, and
  • be clear that the will represents his wishes.

If your father is still mentally competent, but physically unable to write or sign the document, another person may do it for him as long as that act is properly witnessed.

If your fear is that your father's wife is not caring for him properly, your only option may be to go to court and petition to have a conservator appointed for him. However, this is a somewhat daunting legal procedure -- and you should consider it only as a last resort.