New York Guardianship Attorney
If you have a family member with a disability, the New York Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff can counsel you about guardianship options and alternatives.
When an adult or child requires extra care, appointing a guardian might be necessary to ensure their health and safety. You must go through a strict procedure by filing a petition with the court to gain guardianship over your family member. While the legal process of establishing a guardianship can be overwhelming to handle alone, you will receive personalized attention and guidance at the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff.
Bracha Etengoff has taught adults and children with developmental disabilities. She has an M.A. in Psychology and is certified in elder mediation. Bracha also knows how to navigate the complex court process and pursue a positive outcome. She will be on your side during every step to protect your loved one’s interests.
Call us at (347) 640-0993 today for your consultation and learn more about how we can help. We’re available to discuss the circumstances on Zoom, in one of our offices, at your home, or in your chosen convenient location.
Common Types of Guardianship
A person who is appointed as a guardian takes responsibility for a person’s needs when they can no longer care for themselves. Many people think of an older adult with dementia when they picture a person in need of a guardian. However, guardianship can apply in situations where a child loses their parents or when a person with special needs doesn’t have the ability to care for themselves as an adult.
Three types of guardianship are available depending on the circumstances:
- Guardianship of the person – This type of guardian is responsible for an individual’s needs and care. They must manage all necessary personal and medical matters. If guardianship is of a minor child, the guardian must also make decisions regarding educational needs.
- Guardianship of the property – This type of guardian is in charge of the dependent person’s finances and assets.
- Guardianship of person and property – A guardian of an individual and their property has the authority to make decisions regarding a range of matters, including personal, financial, and medical.
Different types of guardians also exist depending on the person in need of care:
- Guardian of a minor – The guardian of a minor child acts in place of a parent to meet all the child’s needs.
- Guardian of an adult – An older adult’s legal guardian is responsible for making decisions and protecting their interests when they aren’t capable of taking care of themselves due to a disability or cognitive disease.
Appointing a Guardian in New York
According to the Mental Hygiene Law, the court will appoint an “Article 81” guardian if it determines:
- Appointment is necessary for the person’s personal needs, including clothing, healthcare, food, shelter, safety, and managing their financial affairs and property; and
- The person agrees to the appointment of a guardian or is incapacitated.
An adult is incapacitated if they:
- Cannot take care of their personal needs and/or property; and
- Will likely suffer harm because they’re unable to understand the consequences of their inability to care for their property and/or personal needs.
You must follow various steps to pursue guardianship in New York:
- File a petition with the court to prove guardianship is necessary
- The court will grant a hearing to determine incapacitation
- If the court determines the adult is incapacitated, the petitioner must complete training
- The court must approve the guardian before officially appointing them as guardian. However, if there isn’t a family member willing to take on this responsibility, the court can appoint a previously trained person as guardian.
Guardianship of an Adult with a Developmental or Intellectual Disability
You can petition the court to appoint an Article 17-A guardian if your child is at least 18 years old with a developmental or intellectual disability and cannot make sound decisions for themselves.
Common medical conditions of adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities include:
- Traumatic head injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Neurological impairment
Typically, a parent, guardian, or close relative is the person petitioning the court for this type of guardianship. It is the most restrictive type available. The guardian assumes the responsibility for most decisions in the adult’s life.
When you file the petition, you must include documentation that certifies the disability and explain why that person can’t manage their own affairs. You will attend a court hearing before a judge to argue your case. If the judge grants guardianship, it is typically permanent when the adult child has special needs. However, if circumstances change, you could petition the court to terminate or modify guardianship.
Alternatives to Guardianships
Guardianships are an important solution, but they trigger the loss of many legal rights and drastically limit personal autonomy. Sometimes, a guardianship is not the best course of action. Credit or bank cards with predetermined limits, ABLE accounts, powers of attorney, and health care proxies might be better solutions, depending on each person’s unique circumstances.
Supported decision making is another alternative for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It allows them to choose someone to support them in making their own decisions. This can include information gathering and evaluation, thinking through the consequences of a decision, and communicating with third parties.
At the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff in New York, we understand the importance of guardianship matters. We know you want your loved one to receive the best care possible. Your New York guardianship attorney will work with you to determine the appropriate strategy to meet their unique needs, whether it’s a guardianship or an alternative to guardianship. for themselves, it’s time to step in to keep them safe. We know how to navigate the legal process and complete every step so your family member can live a safe and fulfilling life.
When you hire us, we will review all the factors in your situation and determine whether appointing a guardian is the best decision. If a power of attorney or healthcare proxy seems like a better solution, and your loved one is interested in consulting us, we can assist. We will never pressure you into making decisions that don’t fit your family member’s needs.
Contact a New York guardianship attorney from the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff today if you want to discuss guardianships and alternatives to guardianship for your child, parent, or other family member. Call (347) 640-0993 for your confidential consultation. We can meet by video, in our Manhattan or Long Island office, or in your home or office.