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In New York, a guardianship is a legal relationship whereby the court provides a person with the legal authorization to make certain decisions for someone who is unable to make decisions of that type for him or herself. There are different types of guardianships. Whether you are petitioning for or opposing a guardianship in New York, you should get legal advice. New York City guardianship lawyer Jules Haas has represented many clients in Guardianship Courts in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. He has also been appointed as the Court Evaluator, who reviews facts in guardianship cases and gives the court a report and recommendations.Understanding the Function of a Guardianship
Guardianships are legal arrangements that require the court to appoint a guardian for a ward, the person for whom the guardian makes decisions. The guardian must be over age 18 and a citizen or legal resident of the United States. There are a number of reasons why the ward may need a guardian. Often, the ward does not have the cognitive ability to make decisions for him or herself, and they cannot give informed consent for medical, personal, or financial matters. The type of guardianship will determine whether the case will be handled in the Surrogate's Court or the Supreme Court.
Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law authorizes the court to appoint a guardian when the following conditions are met: (1) appointing a guardian is necessary to provide management for someone else's financial or property affairs, or their personal needs, and (2) the person agrees to this appointment or is incapacitated.
The court must specifically make a finding that the person is incapacitated if they do not agree to the guardian. The statute requires the court to consider a potential ward's functional level and restrictions, and it should assess whether the ward is able to handle their own activities for daily living. A guardianship attorney in New York City can advise you on how a court may evaluate a certain situation.
An Article 81 guardianship is very individualized. It is supposed to be limited in the types of decisions to be made by the guardian. The judge appoints a Court Evaluator, who will provide it with recommendations after investigating whether a guardian is necessary and meeting with the purportedly incapacitated person. The court is supposed to hold a hearing for guardianship, during which the petitioner should present clear and convincing evidence of a potential ward's incapacity and likelihood of suffering harm without the appointment of a guardian. Often, there is a dispute about whether the potential ward truly needs a guardian.
Under Article 81, guardianships can involve different arrangements. Guardianship of a person permits the guardian to make daily decisions for the other person. Guardianship of property permits the guardian to make decisions about the ward's property and finances, whether that property is a result of an inheritance or lawsuit settlement or something else. In most cases, a New York City guardianship attorney can help you pursue a guardianship over both person and property. This empowers the guardian to make decisions about both personal needs and financial affairs.
An Article 17-A guardianship may be appropriate for people over age 18 who are intellectually or developmentally disabled under the Surrogate's Court Procedures Act. To obtain this type of guardianship, it is necessary to file with the petition a certification from a doctor and one psychologist or two doctors. The certification must state that the person to be a ward has a disability and cannot manage their own affairs. The Surrogate's Court has the authority to appoint a guardian of the person, property, or both, but often these guardianships are broad, covering both personal and financial matters.
Minors whose parents are unable to care for them or who inherit more than $10,000 may need a guardianship under Article 17. When there is property or an inheritance, or when the child's parents have passed away, a petition for guardianship may be filed in Surrogate's Court.Consult a Trustworthy Guardianship Lawyer in New York City
Jules Haas has more than 30 years of experience handling matters related to guardianships in New York. He represents clients in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, as well as throughout Kings, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. Contact us at (212) 355-2575 or through our online form to set up an appointment.