Long Island Guardianships
A person’s disability or incapacitation can make it difficult for him or her to address financial affairs and other practical matters, including daily care. If you need to get a guardianship for a loved one, or others are trying to impose a guardianship that you don’t believe is appropriate, it is advisable to consult legal counsel. Jules Haas is an experienced Long Island guardianship attorney who may be able represent you in the process of obtaining or opposing a guardianship.What is a Guardian?
The court authorizes a guardian to make decisions for someone who is the subject of the guardianship. The subject of the guardianship is known as a ward. In New York, there are different types of guardianships, and the type of guardianship at issue will affect what kinds of decisions the guardian can make for the ward.Article 17 and 17-A Guardianships
Guardianships can be very broad. Often minors whose parents die or become disabled are made wards of an adult under Article 17, such that the adult will take them in to provide physical custody and also handle any property left to the minor. Parents sometimes name a guardian in their will before they pass away, but the Article 17 process is still used. Sometimes minors experience cognitive or developmental disabilities such that they grow into adults who are not able to make certain decisions for themselves. An Article 17A guardianship is designed to address this situation such that a guardian will take care of the ward, his property or both. A seasoned guardianship lawyer serving Long Island can help you assess whether this type of arrangement would be appropriate for your situation.Article 81 Guardianships
Under Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law, the court can appoint a guardian to handle the financial or personal affairs of someone unable to manage alone due to incapacity. These are very tailored guardianships, in which only those powers that are needed to meet a ward’s needs would be granted to the guardian. For example, if someone were severely manic or psychotic such that they couldn’t manage their own finances, and yet could make health care decisions, the court might appoint a guardian to specifically take care of financial decisions. The guardian might, for example, have the authority to collect assets and pay the ward’s bills.
Incapacitated people are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by others. Sometimes individuals try to obtain the property of incapacitated people because they believe the incapacitated person is alone in the world. A guardianship can be put in place in which bank accounts are frozen and only the guardian has access to assets of the ward. The guardian may also be granted the power to go after any assets that were stolen or misappropriated from the ward.
Sometimes the guardianship gives a guardian the power to provide personal care or to hire another person to provide personal care. For example, if your mother has severe dementia, she might have difficulty remembering personal hygiene tasks and may not remember to eat or attend to her personal hygiene. She may not be able to live by herself. The court may design the guardianship to address personal care or that would authorize the guardian to place the ward in a nursing home or assisted living facility due to her inability to care for herself. A Long Island guardianship lawyer can help you seek or fight a guardianship of this nature.
Although they can be broad, Article 81 guardianships can also be quite circumscribed, depending on the situation. This type of guardianship provides specific powers. The court starts by appointing a court evaluator. The court evaluator meets with the ward to decide what sort of guardianship is needed considering what the ward is able to do. The court will conduct a hearing. At the hearing, the petitioner asking for a guardianship needs to provide clear and convincing evidence that the proposed ward isn’t able to take care of certain activities, whether it’s personal care or money-related. The ward also has an opportunity to present a case for why a guardianship is inappropriate. The court will examine the alleged incapacitated person’s ability to handle activities of daily living.Consult an Experienced Guardianship Attorney in Long Island
Jules Haas has worked tenaciously for more than 35 years to help clients obtain or fight guardianships arising out of incapacitation. He represents clients in Long Island and the NYC area. If you are trying to obtain a guardianship or you need to oppose someone else’s petition for guardianship, call Jules Haas at (212) 355-2575 for a free consultation or contact us through our online form. We provide reasonable and flexible fee arrangements.