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One important value that people of all ages throughout our society hold (especially our seniors) is independence. Autonomy is engrained in our society and a common factor throughout our nation. But our definition of independence extends far beyond the broader concept of political self-governance to the desire for every individual to be able to make their own decisions and have their wishes honored.

Unfortunately, independence can be limited by incapacity. For those individuals without advance directives, the inability to make personal and financial decisions can result in the need for a court-appointed guardian. The process of having a guardian appointed can be complicated and costly in Nassau, Suffolk, and surrounding New York counties.

There are 3 basic types of New York Guardianships:

Article 81 Guardianship

An Article 81 Guardianship in New York is appropriate for an individual who, at one time, was competent but now suffers from either functional or cognitive limitations in their ability to complete daily activities without help. In some cases, the limitation may be the result of an unexpected illness, sudden accident, or slow progressive disease. Learn More

Article 17A Guardianship

Often, parents of children with special needs, whether developmentally disabled or intellectually disabled, assume they may continue to make decisions on their child’s behalf even after the child reaches the age of majority (18 in New York). However, once the child reaches the age of majority, no other person has the authority to make medical, personal, or financial decisions for that individual. To legally make decisions for an adult with a developmental disability, an Article 17A Guardianship proceeding is required in New York. Learn More

Article 17 Guardianship in New York (for a minor)

In instances where a minor’s property is valued at more than $10,000, a court must oversee the management of the assets. This usually occurs when a child inherits funds or property after a loved one passes, or when a personal injury lawsuit is settled. An Article 17 Guardianship  protects the inherited assets of the minor throughout childhood. After reaching the age of majority, the inherited assets are turned over to the child. Learn More

Elder Law New York Guardianship for Financial Decisions

A New York guardian can make a broad range of financial decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person. The guardian is usually a family member or close friend who can be given the power to:

  • Collect and invest the person’s assets
  • Expend assets and income on any of the person’s needs
  • Sell the person’s residence
  • Protect the person’s assets in such a way as to maximize government benefits (such as SSI and Medicaid)
  • Make gifts of the person’s assets to their loved ones

New York Special Needs Trusts

A guardian can set up a Special Needs Trust. The trust will allow a trustee to hold the person’s assets for their benefit without compromising New York Medicaid eligibility, subject to certain conditions. This is a vital planning tool for all incapacitated persons under age 65 who have assets.

Elder Law Guardianship in New York for Personal Decisions

A New York guardian can also make important personal decisions for the incapacitated person regarding routine and major medical and dental treatment; living arrangements; educational and training opportunities; and the application for government benefits, including SSI and Medicaid.

How to Become a Guardian

Your New York elder law attorney petitions the appropriate court and asks that the court appoint you (or someone you’ve chosen) as guardian. The court decides whether guardianship in New York is needed, who should be appointed, and the guardian’s financial or personal decision-making powers. Once appointed, the guardian can begin to act on behalf of the incapacitated person.

Benefits of New York Guardianship in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City, NY

  • Protection of assets from loss or waste
  • Access to money to make necessary expenditures
  • Investment of the assets according to a prudent investment plan
  • Medicaid planning
  • Special needs trusts
  • Sale of residence
  • Medical and dental treatment decision-making
  • Living arrangements
  • Health care decisions
  • Tax and estate planning
  • Creation of living trusts

Russo Law Group, P.C. helps you and your loved ones handle estate planning, elder law, special needs planning, Medicaid planning, trust & estate, guardianship, small business planning, and real estate law. We welcome you to contact our Garden City, Lido Beach, or Islandia, New York law offices to learn more about how we can help address your elder law guardianship needs. We can also visit your home and offer virtual meetings for convenience.

If you have questions or concerns about New York guardianship issues in Long Island and New York City communities, please don’t hesitate to contact our New York elder law attorneys or guardianship attorneys at Russo Law Group, P.C.

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