Guardianship Law in New York
GUARDIANSHIP LAW IN NEW YORK AND THE PROCEEDINGS: As guardianship lawyers, we help the close friends or family members of incapacitated individuals. We do so by filing petitions in the guardianship court to enable these friends or family members appointed as the legal guardian for the allegedly incapacitated individual. New York law specifically provides a procedure for the appointment of a guardian whose powers are tailored to the particular needs of an incapacitated person for personal care, property management and/or financial management. Guardianship proceedings usually involve elderly people who have lost mental capacity, younger people who were born with a mental handicap or someone who has been in a debilitating accident. When mentally handicapped children turn 18, their parents will often file for guardianship so that they may continue to manage their child’s affairs even though that child is legally an adult. However, in the typical case, the close friends or family members come to our office when there is no alternative. There is no other avenue to take care of the allegedly incapacitated person or his/her property. In other words, the allegedly incapacitated person never signed a Power of Attorney. Unfortunately, by the time they come to us, the allegedly incapacitated person is unable to sign one because he or she no longer has the mental capacity to sign a Power of Attorney. When you file a guardianship petition, you must be able to allege that the incapacitated person is unable to handle his or her own affairs. The Petition must show that, due to the incapacitated person’s condition, infirmities and impairments, a guardian is needed to make decisions for the incapacitated person. This decision-making authority could pertain to financial decisions and/or decisions as to where and with whom the incapacitated person will reside. In short, once the court determines that the person is incapacitated, the appointed individual will have full authority to make decisions, both personal and financial on behalf of the incapacitated person.