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Does Your Loved One Need a Guardianship?

Petitioning The NY Court For Guardianship

Most people are able to manage their lives, jobs, relationships, and property. At times, however, either because of physical or cognitive impairment, or because of the debilitation of age, some are unable to manage. When this happens, the law provides a possible solution in the form of a guardianship.

Guardianship grants legal authority over a person and/or that person's possessions to a third party who can better look after him or her. Naturally, a guardianship takes away rights from the person being protected (incapacitated person), including the right to make important decisions about life and property. Guardianship can protect those who cannot help themselves, but it does so at the cost of some of their freedoms.

Because of the high stakes involved, New York law requires that a court carefully tailor a guardianship to the needs of the incapacitated person, taking away no more rights and liberties than are necessary for his or her protection.

NY State Requirements Form Being Granted Guardianship

To grant a guardianship over a person in New York, the court must find that:

  • A guardianship is needed to provide for the personal needs and property management of the individual
  • The person is likely to suffer harm because of his or her inability to manage personal needs or property and because the person does not understand the nature of this disability

A petitioner making an application for guardianship must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged incapacitated person is indeed incapacitated. This high level of proof helps to protect the rights of the person who is the object of a petition for guardianship and to ensure that only those who really need a guardian actually get one.

Because guardianship gives so much power to the guardian over the life and property of another, the court must approve the guardian. The court continues to supervise the guardianship as long as it is in effect.

Guardianship is an important and powerful tool for protecting the incapacitated person. If you have a loved one who can no longer take care of himself or herself for any reason, please contact an elder law attorney in our office. We have years of experience assisting families with guardianships of all types.

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