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New York Guardianship Attorneys
Many families have a loved one with an intellectual or developmental disability or a loved one that at some point becomes unable to make his or her own personal and financial decisions. In such cases, guardianship may be necessary.
An experienced Littman Krooks attorney can determine what type of guardianship is most appropriate. We can file the guardianship petition, explain the duties of the guardian, and assist the guardian with annual accountings required by the court. We can also assist with representing a guardian’s interests in court and other related matters, including filing a petition to expand the guardian’s powers, or protecting assets so that the individual needing a guardian can maintain eligibility for government benefits.
Does Everyone Need a Guardian?
Some people who might otherwise need a guardian can be served in a less restrictive way, including:
- Advance medical directives or healthcare proxies
- Personal caregivers
- Powers of attorney
- Representative payees
A Littman Krooks attorney can help you determine how best to help your loved one manage their personal finances and affairs.
What is a Guardian?
A guardian is typically a family member or a close friend appointed by the court to make decisions for a loved one regarding health care, personal affairs and financial matters.
A guardian may collect and invest the assets of the person requiring a guardianship, and assist the individual with paying bills, living arrangements and medical treatment. Becoming a guardian is a serious responsibility.
Elder Law & Estate Planning Services
The Responsibilities of a Guardian
Typically, guardians are responsible for such tasks as those listed here.
What is the Process?
Guardianship of a Child with Special Needs:
As your child approaches the age of 18, you should consider whether your child requires the appointment of a guardian. In New York State, regardless of the severity of your child’s disability, at the age of 18 your child is legally considered a competent adult and capable of making educational, financial and other decisions independently. If your child is unable to make decisions independently due to a developmental disability a guardian must be appointed by the Surrogate’s Court. Parents should consider not only applying for guardianship for themselves, but nominating a successor guardian in the event that they can no longer care for their child. For parents with more than one child, clarifying the issue of guardianship as soon as possible ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to caring for a sibling with special needs.
The guardianship process typically proceeds under New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act 17-A. The process involves certifying the disability of the person in question, as well as submitting Doctor’s affirmations in support of said disability. The Petition must also include why the person is unable to manage his or her own affairs. A hearing is held after the application is submitted before a judge. A guardianship for a child with special needs is usually indefinite. However, if a situation changes, one can always petition the court to modify or terminate a guardianship.
Guardianship should be considered part of transition planning, which should begin at your child’s IEP meeting when they turn 15. The process of establishing a guardianship, if necessary, should be well underway by the age of 17. Our team of highly trained attorneys can assist you and your family during the transition process.
Guardianship of an Alleged Incapacitated Person:
If your adult loved one does not have the appropriate documents in place, and thus requires financial or medical decision need to be made on his/her behalf, a guardian must be appointed by the Supreme Court to make such decisions. This is typically commenced for an adult under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law. The Court will grant authority to the guardian that is appropriate to satisfy the needs of the alleged incapacitated person, either personal or financial, while at the same time tailored and limited to only those activities for which a person needs assistance.
For parents with more than one child, clarifying the issue of guardianship as soon as possible ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Filing a Petition for Guardianship
An experienced guardianship attorney at Littman Krooks can assist you in drafting and filing a petition for guardianship, which involves the following:
At Littman Krooks, we can also advise you if you had a guardian appointed for you.
We can explain your rights and the duties of the guardian, and file the appropriate documents to ensure that the authority of the guardian is no more intrusive than necessary. We can also assist in ensuring that you may participate as fully as possible in the decision-making process. If you do not want a guardian, we can also prepare and file documents necessary to challenge a petition for guardianship.
When you consult with our guardianship attorneys, we will take the time to learn about your wishes and needs, and an experienced Littman Krooks attorney can determine what type of guardianship is most appropriate.
From the Library
Update on Supported Decision Making in New York State
By Amy C. O’Hara, Partner From recent experience in New York guardianship courts on applications where individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities may have some higher functioning…
Article 81 Guardianship Litigation: Removing a Guardian
A guardian has been appointed for you. What happens if you don’t like your guardian? Guardianships, or conservatorships as they are referred to in some…
Guardianship: Fact vs. Fiction
In recent months, television viewers have been captivated by docuseries and fictional portrayals of conservatorship, known in New York as Guardianship. As with most on-screen…