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New York City Guardianship Attorney

Providing for the Needs of Incapacitated Adults

As long as an individual is a child, he or she typically has a parent or parents standing by to provide for material needs including food, clothing and shelter and to make the important decisions about legal questions and finances. What happens when a child reaches adulthood but will never be fully independent due to a physical or mental incapacity? Similarly, what happens when an adult becomes incapacitated due to an illness, injury or advanced age? State law provides a solution to these problems in the form of legal guardianship.

Call the office at 888.887.7454 or submit an online case evaluation to get in touch with The Law Office of Tamara I. Jordan P.L.L.C.

About Article 81 Guardianship

In the past, guardianship was an imperfect solution to the problem of proving for the care of an incapacitated adult. Because every case is unique, it did not always appropriately address the needs of each person who was made the ward of a legal guardian. While some people may be entirely incapable of managing their personal affairs, others may only need limited assistance with their personal care or financial management. State law remedied this situation in 1992 with the enactment of Article 81 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law, which is the law which provides us with Article 81 guardianship.

Seeking the Best Solution for Guardianship

The goal of the court in appointing an Article 81 guardian is to find the least restrictive alternative for overseeing the affairs of the incapacitated person. The purpose of this type of guardianship is to strike an ideal balance between protecting the rights of the individual and ensuring that his or her needs are provided for. When you bring a petition to become the guardian of an incapacitated loved one, it is necessary to demonstrate to the judge that such appointment is necessary to provide for the personal needs or the property and financial affairs of the person. The ward may either agree to the appointment or the appointment may be made by the judge based on evidence that the ward is incapacitated. An Article 81 guardianship is established when the incapacitated person cannot provide for his or her own needs and cannot adequately understand the consequences of their ability to do so.

When an Article 81 Guardian Is Appointed

The state may agree to appoint you as an Article 81 guardian in a variety of situations, but the common circumstance is that the incapacitated person needs help but does not otherwise have anyone to act on his or her behalf. For example, if an elderly family member such as an uncle or aunt has become senile or has fallen ill, you may step forward to help in making legal decisions, managing finances and providing for everyday needs. The ward may come to live with you, may continue to live in his or her own home or may be placed in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Similarly, if your sibling or other family member has suffered a debilitating injury such as a brain injury you might be appointed as guardian. Article 81 guardianship can also be used for children who have been born with physical or mental conditions which make it impossible for them to ever be fully independent. If the individual has previously established an estate planning instrument such as a power of attorney or health care proxy, guardianship may not be necessary.

Performing Your Duties as a Guardian

Once your petition to be appointed as an Article 81 guardian has been approved, you will be supplied with a Guardianship Commission, a document which gives you the legal power to act on behalf of your ward according to the terms established by the judge. You may need to show this document at the bank, hospital or any other place where it is necessary for you to demonstrate that you have the authority to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. As soon as 90 days have passed since the date when you were appointed as guardian, it is necessary for you to submit an Initial Report to the court.

In the report, you must state that you have satisfied certain basic requirements which include:

  • Making at least one visit with your ward
  • Attending a guardianship training program
  • Discovering any type of estate planning document enacted by your ward such as a will, living will or healthcare proxy
  • Evaluating the situation to determine what services and programs your ward needs
  • Beginning development of a plan for your ward's care
  • Establishing a system for preserving your ward's documents and papers
  • Maintaining receipts of the payments you make on behalf of your ward

It is important to keep detailed notes of everything you do on behalf of your ward, as well as all expenses you incur in the course of performing your services as guardianship. You can generally claim reimbursement for expenses paid out of pocket.

Contact Us Now to Learn More

The decision to assume the role of legal guardian is a major step in life, one that will have far-reaching consequences for both you and your loved one. You deserve to have experienced legal counsel to guide you through the process, help you ensure that you are successful in your petition and to advise you in the performance of your duties. Contact us at The Law Office of Tamara I. Jordan P.L.L.C. now to schedule an office consultation with our New York City guardianship lawyer. We can help you learn more about Article 81 guardianship and begin working on your petition.

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The Law Office of Tamara I. Jordan P.L.L.C. - Landlord Tenant Attorney NYC
Located at 30 Wall Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10005
Phone: (888) 887-7454 | Local Phone: (212) 804-5763