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Attorney Helps the Mother of a Sailor in Tragic Accident

April 16, 2018

A Navy servicemember was in a serious vehicle accident, which caused major brain and spinal injuries. It was expected that he would be in a long-term incapacitated state. His mother needed to be appointed as his guardian so she could handle his affairs, including his property and medical decisions. She visited a military legal assistance office for guidance, which referred her to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The program connected the servicemember’s mother with an attorney who offered pro bono help.

The volunteer attorney prepared all necessary documents to petition the court for the mother’s appointment as her son’s guardian. However, miraculously, the servicemember regained consciousness and recovered to the extent that he could provide informed consent to provide his mother with a power of attorney and execute related forms, including a living will and healthcare surrogate documents. With this, the mother obtained legal authority to make personal, financial, and medical decisions on behalf of her son, so she can ensure that he receives proper care.

With this authority, the mother could also help with her son’s procedures for a medical discharge from the Navy and obtaining VA benefits. The volunteer attorney went above and beyond to provide continued pro bono assistance for these procedures. The servicemember was ultimately medically discharged and received the expected benefits from the Navy and VA.

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