New York Guardianship Attorneys

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By the time a loved one has lost the capability to make important personal and financial decisions, it’s too late to ask one of our Estate Planning Attorneys to prepare a Power of Attorney or Will. That’s because, in order for a person to validly execute one of these instruments, she needs to be sound of mind.

The answer for so many with this dilemma, and for parents of special needs adults, is a legal guardianship. Indeed, NYC, Westchester and Long Island residents can choose from many different types of guardianship. It all depends on your needs.

One option requires medical proofs, but gives the guardian greater powers. Another type of guardianship doesn’t necessarily require medical proofs, but requires a proposed guardian to prove, with other evidence, that a person is incapacitated.

Yet another option allows for the guardianship of persons who are not incapacitated, but who could nevertheless benefit from a guardian. (For example, persons suffering from mental illness or drug addiction). The Court refers to these people as “Persons In Need of a Guardian” (“P.I.N.G.”).

There are many good reasons to hire an attorney when applying for guardianship. The Court will require a hearing for the proposed guardian to present evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and follow local trial rules. Indeed, even if the ward is incapable of participating in the hearing, the Court will appoint a “Court Evaluator” (usually an attorney) to advocate on their behalf.

Another good reason to hire an attorney is for help maintaining the guardianship after appointment. The Court might require you to procure a bond, file annual reports and accountings, respond to Court Evaluator or Examiner inquiries about expenses, prepare taxes, apply for government benefits, and take continuing education courses.

Velella & Basso’s Guardianship Attorneys are happy to discuss which type of guardianship might be right for you and your loved one.