Guardianship is a legal arrangement wherein a court gives a person the legal right to make decisions for another person who is unable to make decisions for himself or herself, such as a child, an incapacitated adult or someone who is developmentally disabled. In New York State, a guardianship case is handled by the Family Court, Supreme Court or Surrogate's Court depending on the type of guardianship.
There are two kinds of guardians: the guardian of the person and the guardian of the property. A guardian of the person can make life decisions for the ward like health care, education and welfare decisions. A guardian of the property handles decisions about the ward's money, investments and savings. Often the person appointed guardian has responsibility of both the ward's life decisions and the ward's property.
The appointment of a guardian involves the court's finding (1) that the appointment is necessary to provide for the personal needs or to manage the property and financial affairs of the person who is the subject of the guardianship proceeding, or both, and (2) the person agrees to the appointment, or more likely, the person is incapacitated and unable to consent to the appointment of a guardian.
A determination of incapacity requires a showing to the court by the petitioner that a person is likely to suffer harm because (a) the person is unable to provide for personal needs or is unable to manage property and financial affairs; and (b) the person cannot adequately understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of such inability.
If you have a family member or a friend who may be in need of having a legal guardian appointed, please contact the office today and schedule a consultation.