Guardianship is a court ordered relationship to help legally disabled family members and/or protect them from third parties and governmental agencies.
Guardianship of the Person and/or Property
A person appointed as guardian must be suitable and qualified and is usually a close adult relative willing to serve.
Parents are the natural guardians for their child and do not need to be appointed by a court; however, minors whose parents are unable to properly care for the personal well being of the child in regard to the child’s education, support and maintenance, and for persons who are mentally retarded or developmentally disabled regardless of age, a Guardianship of the Person is generally set up in Surrogate’s Court.
Guardianship of the Property is set up to protect the assets of a minor, mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person that may be received as injury settlements or estate distributions. The guardian must always act in the best interest of the ward and make a report to the Surrogate’s Court annually.
The guardianship of a minor child terminates when the child reaches 18 years of age.
Standby Guardianship is a special type of guardianship established to allow a parent who is terminally ill to appoint a guardian for their child during their lifetime to take effect when they become physically disabled or die.
Guardianship under Article 81 of the MHL
If a person becomes mentally disabled and would not qualify for a guardianship appointment in Surrogate’s Court due to injury, dementia or other debilitating event it may be necessary to have such a guardian appointed under the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) commonly referred to as an Article 81 Guardianship.
Government agencies such as the county Department of Social Services will often impose state mandated rules on the care of loved ones, and, as a result, it may go against their wishes and/or the wishes of close relatives who are doing their best to support an elderly family member. An Article 81 Guardianship can help you take back control of this all to common occurrence for parents, grandparents, and other family members.
Contesting a Guardianship Appointment
We can also represent individuals who wish to contest a guardianship. There may be an objection to the designation of a particular person as guardian or to the proceeding granting guardianship itself. Whatever the objection may be, you will need skilled counsel in contesting a guardianship.
Contact us today for more information about guardianship appointments and how we can help you.
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