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Westchester County Guardianships
Whether you are seeking or opposing a guardianship in Westchester County, it is crucial to retain an experienced attorney who can represent you in court. There are various avenues toward guardianships, and your attorney can ensure that you use the process that fits your situation, or fight vigorously against an unwarranted guardianship petition. Jules Haas is a skillful Westchester County guardianship lawyer who can advise and represent you.
A guardian is someone authorized by the court to make various decisions for the person who is the subject of the guardianship. The subject of a guardianship is called a ward or an incapacitated person. However, the scope of the decisions that can be made by a guardian for a ward depends partly on the type of guardianship that has been put in place and the process that was used to put it in place. Usually, guardianships are sought for minors whose parents cannot care for them, or for adults who are incapacitated. About one-quarter of the population of Westchester County is under 18 years old, and over 30 percent of households contain a child under the age of 18. At the same time, over 10 percent of households involve someone who is over 65 living alone. About 15 percent of the population of the county is at least 65 years old.Article 17 and 17-A Guardianships
The broadest guardianships are obtained through Article 17 and Article 17A. Generally, minors whose parents have passed away or have become incapacitated may be the wards in Article 17 guardianships. The adult guardian not only will have physical custody but also will take charge of the property left to the minor. Often, parents name a guardian in their will, but the court must still appoint that guardian for the guardianship to go into effect. A guardianship attorney can assist Westchester County residents with finalizing this process.
Article 17A guardianships are often used when a minor has a developmental or intellectual disability and has not become competent to make decisions on their own after reaching adulthood. In that case, an Article 17A guardianship petition can be filed to cover the person, their property, or both. Often, parents get this type of guardianship over a minor with a serious incapacitating disability when he or she becomes an adult but cannot take charge of his or her own life.Article 81 Guardianships
Article 81 guardianships are very specific about the powers of a guardian. In order to decide whether to put in place an Article 81 guardianship, the court will appoint a court evaluator who can meet with a prospective ward and determine which kind of guardianship, if any, would be appropriate, given that specific ward’s abilities. There is a hearing at which the petitioner who is requesting the appointment of a guardian must show the court clear and convincing evidence that the disabled or incapacitated person is not able to take control of specific elements of personal decision-making or finances. The incapacitated person or anyone else has a chance to be heard on why no guardianship should be put in place. The court will make a decision after hearing both sides. A Westchester County guardianship attorney can advocate for either side.
One of the most common reasons why a guardianship is sought is because an incapacitated person is unable to pay bills due to their mental incapacity. The guardian appointed by the court can rectify this problem by getting the authority to make investments, gather assets, and pay bills. In some instances, a disabled person can make decisions about medical care but is too disabled to make financial decisions. The court may create an Article 81 guardianship in which the guardian manages finances, but the ward retains medical decision-making authority.
However, there are also situations in which an incapacitated person does not take care of personal needs. For example, someone with severe schizophrenia might find it difficult to groom, dress, or bathe himself, and he might have difficulty getting to the bathroom or buying groceries. He might allow a lot of debris to accumulate. Guardians can have the authority to fix this situation by providing home care, hiring someone else to provide home care, or placing the ward in a residential living facility. There are also cases where a guardianship is needed to prevent elder abuse or misappropriation of the assets of the incapacitated person. Guardianship litigation may also involve the misuse of a power of attorney or other advance directive.Consult a Skillful Guardianship Lawyer in Westchester County
For over 35 years, Jules Haas has worked closely with clients seeking or opposing guardianships. He represents his clients tenaciously. If you are trying to obtain a guardianship, or if you need to oppose someone else’s petition for a guardianship, call Jules Haas at (212) 355-2575 or contact us through our online form. We provide a free consultation.