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Suffolk County Guardianships
Suffolk County is located on Long Island, and has an estimated population of just below 1.5 million residents, the fourth-largest county in New York. It is home to Stony Brook University, as well as the greatest number of lighthouses of any county in the United States. It is well known for its many beaches, as well as its high per-capita income. In Suffolk County, as in other places, sometimes there are adults or children who are in need of someone to look after their affairs. The court can appoint a guardian to take care of a minor whose parent is deceased or incapacitated, or to take care of an incapacitated or disabled adult. There are a few different processes you can follow to have a guardian appointed in New York. It is advisable to consult an experienced Suffolk County guardianship attorney to make sure that you use the appropriate process for your situation, whether you are seeking to establish a guardianship or to fight against an inappropriate guardianship.Guardianships
A person who needs a guardianship is considered a ward or incapacitated person. Legal guardians are empowered by the court to make decisions for the incapacitated individual. The precise scope of the guardianship may depend on the process used to obtain it.Article 81 Guardianships
Article 81 guardianships are highly specific with regard to the scope of the guardian’s authority. Generally, the court appoints a court evaluator who can meet with the potential ward and investigate whether a guardianship is appropriate and what powers the guardian should have. For example, there are disabled individuals who cannot manage their finances, but are competent to make decisions about their medical care. The guardianship in those cases may be restricted to financial decision-making. For another example, a guardianship proceeding can be used to freeze a bank account where there is a suspicion that somebody is taking advantage of a disabled person by fraudulently inducing money transfers. The court may appoint a guardian to start a proceeding to recover the funds that were fraudulently taken. For yet another example, caring for an incapacitated person can be an expensive experience, and it may be necessary to get Medicaid eligibility for a residential facility. This is also a task that the court can charge the guardian with.
If you are seeking or contesting a guardianship, there will be a hearing about the guardianship. It is very important to hire a guardianship lawyer in Suffolk County to handle Article 81 proceedings. Sometimes, the court appoints a lawyer for the incapacitated person.
At an Article 81 guardianship hearing, a petitioner asking for a guardian to be appointed will need to present the court with clear and convincing proof that the incapacitated or disabled person is unable to manage certain elements of their personal lives or financial affairs. The appointed court evaluator also presents a report. There is an opportunity to oppose the guardianship, and the court renders a decision after the hearing.Article 17 and 17-A Guardianships
Sometimes minors need guardians when parents pass away or become too sick to care for them, and it may be appropriate to file an Article 17 guardianship in Surrogate’s Court. A legal guardian may be appointed for a minor, and as a minor’s legal guardian, an adult may keep physical custody of the minor and also control the minor’s property. Courts may appoint an adult guardian to care for a minor who is not the child of the adult guardian. In some cases, parents have anticipated this possibility and named a guardian in their wills, and that guardian can be appointed by the court. A skilled Suffolk County guardianship lawyer can help establish guardianships involving minors.
When minors who have intellectual or developmental disabilities grow up and turn 18, they may not have capacity to make their own decisions. In these cases, it also may be appropriate to file an Article 17A guardianship petition in Surrogate’s Court. The Article 17A guardianship may be over the person or their property, and sometimes it is a guardianship over both. This is a broad type of guardianship, in which most choices made by a parent, including decisions about finances and medical care, are assigned to the guardian (who may be a parent).Consult an Experienced Guardianship Attorney in Suffolk County
Jules Haas has worked with clients trying to obtain or oppose guardianships for more than 35 years. He provides tenacious, careful, and trustworthy legal representation in Suffolk County. Whether you are seeking a guardianship or opposing a petition for guardianship, call us at (212) 355-2575 or contact us through our online form. Call for a free consultation.