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When Does a Guardianship in New York End?

** This article has been revised from its original version which was published on January 3, 2018

A guardian is someone who is appointed to make crucial decisions for another person who can’t make those decisions on their own. This may involve guardianship for minors, an adult with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or an adult who becomes incapacitated by an accident or illness. Because guardianship in New York can be complex, it is best to have the help of estate planning attorneys or elder law attorneys to navigate the process.

One of the most common questions a guardian has when they are appointed by the court is, “when does the guardianship end?

A Guardian’s Obligations

With a Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 Guardianship, this is a practical question because the guardian has significant duties that continue until the court says otherwise.

In addition to the guardian’s obligations to the incapacitated person, ongoing duties to the court can include:

  • Attending guardianship training courses (unless waived by the court)
  • Obtaining and filing a bond (unless waived by the court)
  • Filing an initial report and annual reports
  • Visitation with the incapacitated person as directed by the court
  • Notifying certain individuals of the death of the incapacitated person as directed by the court
  • Filing a final report
  • Given these continuing obligations, it is important to inform the guardian that all guardianships for minors and guardianships for adults end at some point.

Reasons to Terminate Guardianship

  • The incapacitated adult no longer needs a guardian – The court may terminate guardianship for adults if it’s determined they no longer need one.
  • The guardian resigns – The court may end guardianship if the guardian requests to resign. This is typically done for personal reasons.
  • The guardian is no longer able to perform their duties – The court may terminate the guardian’s position and appoint a new guardian if the initial guardian becomes incapacitated or is unable to perform their duties for any reason.
  • The judge removes the guardian for cause – The court can remove a guardian and appoint a new guardian if they fail to comply with their required duties successfully or are guilty of misconduct.
  • Death of the incapacitated adult – The death of the incapacitated adult ends a guardianship.

How to Terminate Guardianship after an Incapacitated Person’s Death

  • Provide the court with a copy of the incapacitated individual’s death certificate,
  • Inform all other relevant parties of the death,
  • Pay allowable outstanding bills for services rendered while the incapacitated adult was still living,
  • Prepare a statement of death that is to be provided to the court examiner and the individual responsible for administering the estate,
  • Prepare a statement of assets, which must be provided to the fiduciary of the estate of the deceased individual or public administrator,
  • Prepare a notice of claim and provide it to the fiduciary of the estate of the deceased individual or public administrator,
  • Transfer all property (other than what is needed to satisfy known debts and administrative fees) to the fiduciary of the estate of the deceased individual or public administrator,
  • File a final account

If you are seeking guardianship for minors or guardianship for adults, it is important to speak with qualified estate planning attorneys or elder law attorneys experienced with guardianship in New York. Our attorneys can evaluate your current situation and help you seek the right type of guardianship.

Please do not hesitate to contact Russo Law Group, P.C, with questions. Benefit from our experience, as well as caring and compassionate staff. You may also take advantage of our free seminars and webinars to learn more about how Russo Law Group, P.C., helps with Medicaid benefits for your parent

Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I thought it was interesting that a guardianship can end without the incapacitated adult getting better. I would have thought that it was the only way for such a thing to end, but I guess it makes sense that something like being unable to perform your duties can be a reason. Thank you for explaining this. I think that it might be important for me to know in the future.

  2. I was unaware that a guardian is able to resign from their position if they request to do so for personal reasons. My friend wants to become a legal guardian of his nephew in place of the child’s mother, it is good to know that it is possible for her to resign as a legal guardian. I will make sure to let my friend know the specifics so that he can continue with the process.

  3. You mentioned that the guardianship could end if the guardian resigns. Would they then have a court date to determine consercatorship if the individual still isn’t able to take care of themselves? What help do they get until someone is decided to be responsible for them?

    1. The guardianship does not necessarily end if the guardian resigns or passes away. If the guardian is asking the court for leave to resign then the court will appoint a new guardian before authorizing the current guardian to resign. The current guardian MUST continue to act until the court issues an order appointing a new guardian and that guardian is commissioned to act. Until this is done the current guardian has a fiduciary responsibility to the incapacitated person to continue to act.

      If a guardian dies while acting as guardian, then the standby guardian can act on behalf of the incapacitated person. If there is no standby guardian than an interested party can inform the court of the guardian’s passing and petition to have a new guardian appointed. This could be a family member, friend, or concerned person in the incapacitated person’s life, or it could be the court examiner appointed to the matter.

      If you have questions and concerns regarding a guardianship, we are available to meet and answer your questions and discuss your specific concerns. Please contact our office at 516-683-1717 to arrange an appointment.

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