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Guardianship

At Tilem & Associates, PC, our Westchester, New York Guardianship Lawyers are proud to help people throughout the New York metropolitan area, from Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Bronx and New York Counties, protect their loved ones when they need it most.

A guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a court gives a person (the legal guardian) ability legally to make decisions for another person when the person cannot make decisions for themselves. Guardianships over adults are generally appropriate when an adult has intellectual or developmental disabilities or when an adult becomes incapacitated. Hiring an experienced New York Guardianship lawyer can streamline the process and ensure that your loved one is protected in an expeditious manner.

A Lawyer who is experienced in Guardianship proceedings understands that in New York a presumption exists under the law that individuals 18 years old and older can manage their own affairs. It is up to the person seeking to be appointed as a guardian and their lawyer to overcome that presumption.

An Incapacitated Person, commonly referred to as an "AIP" is an adult (older than 18 years of age) who needs help to care for their personal needs and/or manage their property or financial affairs. The Guardian gets appointed by the Judge. The Guardian can then legally make decisions for the other person. A person can become a guardian if he is over the age of 18, a resident or citizen, and lacks a criminal record may not be able to become a guardian.

The person under the care of the guardian is called the Ward. The Ward can also be referred to as the Guardianee. A Ward may not be able to communicate or make any decisions. The Ward may not be able to take care of their own health or medical needs. The Ward may not be able to handle the financial aspects of their life.

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There are three types of guardians: guardian of the person, the property, or the person and property. A guardian can make life decisions regarding the Guardianee's health care or education or social environment. A guardian could also make decisions regarding a Ward's money, investments and savings as directed by the Court. The Guardian will have to file reports to account to the Court.

An Article 17-A Guardianship which is defined under Article 17-A of the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act (SCPA) is very broad and covers most decisions that are usually made by a parent for a child such as financial and healthcare decision. An Article 17-A Guardianship is available only for individuals who are "intellectually disabled or developmentally disabled." A certification from one physician and one psychologist or two physicians must be filed with the petition certifying that the person has a disability and is not able to manage his or her affairs because of intellectual disability, developmental disability or a traumatic head injury. The Surrogate's Court can appoint a guardian of the person, the property or both.

Article 81 of the New York State MENTAL HYGEINE LAW (MHL) governs Guardianships of Incapacitated Persons. An Article 81 Guardianship is very individualized. The Court will be very specific to what decisions a guardian is allowed to make and in some cases, the disabled person is still allowed to make some decisions on their own.

Speak with one of our experienced New York guardianship lawyers, free of charge, by calling 914-833-9785.