Our attorneys regularly counsel clients about guardianship as a means to protect their incapacitated loved ones who need help making decisions and managing their personal affairs, including their living arrangements, health care needs, and financial arrangements.
For individuals with developmental disabilities, we often represent parents or siblings in establishing guardianships for their children, brothers or sisters. These matters are generally handled through Surrogate's Court in the County in which the disabled individual lives. For other individuals who may become incapacitated as a result of age, infirmity or injury, we assist by handling court proceedings to determine if a guardian is needed, who the guardian should be, and what powers the guardian should have. These cases are typically brought in either Surrogate's Court or Supreme Court in the County in which the alleged incapacitated person resides. After a guardianship has been approved, we are available to counsel and assist the guardian in completing required reports to the Court or County Examiner about the ongoing personal and financial affairs of the incapacitated person. We also help clients in the event that it becomes necessary to modify or terminate the guardianship due to a change in the incapacitated person or guardian's circumstances.
Usually, guardianship matters are amicable and can be resolved rather expeditiously. However, in certain cases, the interested parties may disagree about whether a guardian is necessary and who the guardian should be or one party may allege wrongdoing on the part of a guardian or third-party toward an alleged incapacitated person. We refer to these as "contested guardianships". Our attorneys are well-versed in handling contested guardianship cases and have represented petitioners, objectants and alleged incapacitated parties in these proceedings.