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A Guide to Adult Guardianship Attorney Brooklyn Services: The Best Legal Help…When You Need It
Facts: Studies show that over 6 million people live with disability in the US.
Our firm employs highly-skilled lawyers that are backed with a huge support staff that have a wide experience in guardianship law, both in and out of Starrett City. We use the latest in legal technology and we are backed with decades of litigation experience. We use these to protect and enforce guardian procedures and enforce the rights of our clients both in and out of the court.
Guardianships can be emotionally charged legal matters because usually they have kids involved. We have experienced counsel that protects our clients interests in what are usually the most trying of situations.
What Does the Term Guardianship Mean?
At times due to the effects of age, injury or disease, older people need assistance in managing some or all the daily affairs. One of the ways of doing this is to establish guardianship. This is a relationship that is established by a court of law between the person that needs assistance and the person that is named to assist.
Which Articles Defines Guardianship in New York?
When you apply for guardianship, the judge will use a few statutes to get the decision.
Article 17-A is a section of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, and it dictates what to do when a person is developmentally or intellectually disabled. This was initially enacted in 1969 to come up with a means for parents to disabled kids to continue making decisions on behalf of the kids once they become adults.
Article 81 on the other hand is a section of the Mental Hygiene Law. It stipulates that an adult that has lost their capacity can get a guardian to look over them. The article was enacted in 1993.
Article 17-A is usually diagnosis driven, while article 81 needs determination of appreciation of danger, functional capacity and the danger itself.
When appointing an Article 81 guardian, a hearing must be held. On the other hand, under Article 17-A, there is no need for a hearing as long as both parents consent to the idea.
What are the Different Types of Guardianships?
There are various types of guardianships that you will come across. These include:
Guardian of the Person
This is a guardian that has control of the personal aspects of a person. The guardians are usually appointed under the provisions of the Mental Health Code as compared to the probate code. This guardian seeks to look after the person in terms of where to live, what to eat and other personal decisions.
Guardian of the Estate
This guardian has the same role as a conservator except that the person whose estate he looks after is developmentally disabled.
These are the two major types, and a person can be one or even both. These can also be full or limited. Full guardianship means that the guardian handles all the aspects of decision making, while limited means that the ward retains some aspects of decision making.
In the state of New York, when a person attains the adult age of 18 years, they are seen to be legally adept at making decisions for themselves. This means that they are responsible for their actions and no other person should make decisions on their behalf.
Since guardianship has an effect on the right of the person, it is vital to understand the implications of the process and then explore other alternatives as well as choices before making the decision to take a step forward.
We have people that require a guardian for their entire adult life due to disabilities while others might need a guardian due to brain injury or other traumatic events. Still, other people might require a guardian at a particular age. In many cases, when the guardian is appointed, the situation becomes permanent.
We have used two terms here – guardian and ward. The former is the person that protects the other, while the person that is being protected is the ward. These terms only become legal when an application has been filed with a court and a hearing has been held. When an appointment is made, then the whole application becomes valid.
Guardians have the legal authority to perform certain tasks that make the life of the ward easier. The court is the one that decides if to place a limitation on the authority of the guardian. The court looks at various factors when making this decision:
- The court gives preference to the family as guardians rather than using guardianship programs. In each situation, the court has to find the best solution to the issue, and prefers to leave the ward with family members that know him much better.
- The court has the rights to disqualify any person or institution from being named the guardian. The court will follow all the due processes to find out who is the best option. Background checks and other checks are performed. The court will give the reasons why they are disqualifying the proposed guardian.
- Being deep in debt or indebted to the proposed ward is a sufficient ground to disqualify a potential guardian unless the debt has been settled before the appointment.
The Pros of Adult Guardianship
There are various benefits that guardianship brings to an adult. Here are the various pros.
First, guardianship helps protect the vulnerable people from the people that can abuse or exploit them. You don’t want anyone that will be after the money or assets that the ward owns.
Guardians usually support their wards by trying to help them handle their business and personal affairs, at times both.
They usually advocate for the wards, helping them make vital decisions including their residences, medical treatments that they need and who has access to the person.
Guardianship is legally binding, which requires guardianship attorney Brooklyn services, which help make sure that the person gets maximum protection.
Terminating a guardianship requires the guardian to submit a notice o the court, after which there is a hearing to determine the best changes for the welfare of the ward.
Even with these pros, there are cons as well.
Cons of Guardianship
Among the cons, restriction is the biggest one. The court is involved and this makes the process very restrictive when it comes to protecting a vulnerable person.
Depending on the type of guardianship that is involved, the ward stands to lose a lot of his basic rights. One of this is the right to decision making. The ward gives the power to make decisions to someone that might not be a relative at all. Family members might no longer get involved in making decisions, especially if they aren’t appointed as guardians. They won’t have the previous access to the wards that they had before.
Additionally, establishing the guardianship needs the services of the attorney and this can be expensive and time consuming. Coming up with annual accounts need the assistance of an attorney. If the ward has enough funds, then the legal fees might be reimbursed and the court costs will have to be paid from the estate. If the ward doesn’t have enough funds, then the guardian stands to lose a lot in terms of time and effort.
The guardian needs to be vigilant in such a way that he needs to renew the letters of guardianship. Without the letter, or if it expires, the guardian ill lose the authority to act, and the court might terminate the guardianship.
Once a guardian is appointed, terminating the agreement requires the services of an attorney, which means there needs to be a court hearing to do this.
What are the Roles of the Guardian?
The guardian has various roles that he needs to play once appointed:
- He must meet the legal responsibilities that have been established by the court. These vary from one person to the other, depending on the circumstances.
- The guardian must pay the bills for the ward. These include personal, financial and medical bills as necessary.
- He has to make decisions about the assets, and come up with a maintenance program for the assets.
- Ensures that the ward’s living and medical expenses are met to the extent that is allowed by the financial capability of the ward.
- Prepares and files the annual reports and accounts with the court when appointing the guardian.
- Must ask for the approval of the curt when it comes to the actions that he makes. All the actions he performs need to be in the interest of the ward.
Limitations of Guardianship
While the guardianship might give the person all the powers he needs to make decisions on behalf of the ward, this comes with some limitations as well. For starters, the guardian can’t prevent the ward from making bad choices and decisions.
He is also not responsible for the bad decisions and the choices that the ward makes, or for any illegal acts that they might commit.
The guardian, contrary to popular myths, is not responsible for funding the ward’s living expenses or for past debts. Any expenses have to be charged against the estate of the ward.
While you have been given the authority to make decisions on behalf of the ward, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to force him to perform some actions such as taking medication. You don’t have to supervise the ward along the clock.
Even when the ward is deemed unfit for living with you, you aren’t supposed to put them in a mental facility.
Confident game on the legal field. We will protect you from problems!
Is Guardianship the Best Choice?
So, is guardianship the best choice when it comes to managing an incapacitated adult? Not it isn’t. While it is legal and follows set principles, it should be the last choice that you can make. Before you opt for guardianship, then look at other options before you rule out less restrictive alternatives that might make the person that is being protected to maintain nearly all their independence.
Consider the following factors before making a choice:
- Do you have a less restrictive alternative that you can use? Have you put to test various alternatives that have been unsuccessful? If you tried this before, might the option work now?
- What other alternatives do you have to make the process less restrictive?
- Is the proposed ward totally unable to make their decisions or to provide for themselves?
- Does the person have a durable power of attorney that can make decisions on behalf of the person?
Making the Decision
When you have exhausted all the options, you can now make a decision. These factors below help you make the perfect decision.
First, ask yourself whether a guardianship is necessary. Come up with a complete list of the reasons and then write them down. Identify the problems that the person is going through then say why you think the guardianship can solve these problems. This is the time to be specific with the reasons.
Come up with a list of possible resources and programs that might help the ward live better. Think of the people that are close to the ward that might be willing to assist. Identify the list of support systems in the person’s life. Talk to a few friends so that they can help you make a decision.
How to Appoint Guardians in Your Will
For parents with children that are minors, you have to specify the person that will serve as their legal guardian in your will. This is to take care of the situation that will arise when the parents die or become incapacitated. They will not be able to fend for the children or provide the care they need. When you fail to specify a guardian, you are leaving it all up to the court that will be forced to find a guardian without getting any input from you on what your desires were. You are wrong to think that custody and guardianship automatically get handed to the next-of-kin or some immediate relatives.
Just to be clear about this, failing to name the person that will serve as a legal guardian for your kids does not mean one will not be appointed. It is essential to underscore that upon the demise of one parent, the surviving one does not lose custody rights over the children. In case you would not prefer them and would wish to have another guardian appointed, factor this in your plans. Even so, strive to get both of you as parents to agree on guardianship.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the chosen guardian can also become incapacitated or fail to qualify. It is, therefore, important to consider having an alternate legal guardian named. Some considerations when choosing a guardian to be named in your will include;
The Age of Your Children
This may sound straightforward, but it is about ensuring that each child is covered separately in the will. You should not think that the court will have all the children to be handled by the same legal guardian if the will only mentions one of the children. This is particularly essential when considering parents with a special-needs child.
How Do You Want Your Children To Live?
You have to be clear in stating your preference on how your children should live. This is especially if you want them to live together. You can even put a voice to this preference for it to supersede your choice of a legal guardian in importance. This means that even if the guardian you choose ends up not serving, the one appointed by the court still will have to respect your wish of the way you want the children to stay.
Does Your Guardian Of Choice Serve All Your Children?
This should follow your preference on whether or not children should stay together. You have to assess your guardians’ ability to care for the needs of your children. You will be assessing the guardian’s situation, including the obligations of the guardian to their own family and its implications on their ability to serve for all your children. Do you feel the guardian’s children and yours can blend?
Age of the Potential Guardian
It is quite common for people to consider their parents as potential guardians to serve their children. However, their age and state of health should be thought about. These have a bearing on their ability to offer the level of care demanded by the children. Choosing your parents as guardians could pass for a sound choice for the children that are nearing the age of majority. However, if your children are still young, age and the guardian’s condition become very vital considerations.
Location of your guardian of choice
How far off is the guardian? In the neighborhood? A far off state or otherwise? You should assess the ability of your children to have to relocate. Does dealing with relocation compound the children’s emotional struggles as they deal with the pain of the loss of their parents?
There are other considerations, including the familiarity of the guardian with your children and vice versa. You also want to consider some religious factors as well as the parenting style of the guardian. Ensure that you have conversed and opened up to the potential guardian and are confident in their willingness to serve. Let them ask questions and go over everything that is functionally pertinent to the arrangement.
Why Choose to Work with Us
Guardianship is an essential legal process that is normally carried out by the probate court. It allows an individual, commonly referred to as a guardian, to make financial, medical, and other personal decisions on behalf of a ward.
In most circumstances, the ward is either a minor or a person with serious physical or mental disabilities. Such individuals are unable to make serious decisions by themselves.
Our practice takes pride in providing our clients with strategic advocacy when it comes to guardianship and conservatorship. Over the years, we have earned a reputation as one of the firms providing most experienced and trustworthy guardianship attorney Brooklyn services in Starrett city. We are renowned for the personalized and practical representation that we offer our clients.
We dedicate our focus not only on you but other parties involved in your guardianship case – such as the ward. Several other reasons why most people choose us over other practices are as follows:
We Are Highly Experienced
Our team of attorneys presents several years of combined experience in matters related to guardianship and conservatorship. This experience helps most of our clients to save time because we always have a solution at hand.
Working with our attorneys means that you will not need to seek additional counsel from any other law firm. Our team uses proven strategies to obtain a favorable outcome for your case, according to your desire.
We always put our clients first and ensure we provide adequate representation in the probate court. We have several dedicated guardianship lawyers and you can be sure to find the kind of assistance you need from our firm. If you choose to work with us, you will have the benefit of being served in the best way possible.
Sometimes, other issues that are not related to guardianship may arise as your case progresses. Our lawyers have been trained to handle such issues effectively, and can also help you appeal your case if you are not satisfied with the court’s decision.
We Handle All Guardianship Cases
We handle different types of guardianship cases differently. We consider the fact that some guardianships may grant a guardian either full or partial decision-making powers over the ward. Some may even limit the guardian to making only legal, financial or medical decisions.
Guardianship types also vary from state to state, and we always appreciate this fact. We always list down the possible outcomes of each guardianship case and work around a solution that covers each of them.
In cases where co-guardianship is a possibility, we help you put the right legal measures in place to ensure that there is no abuse of power by any of the guardians.
For short-term and temporary guardianship, we also work with you and the court to ensure that this arrangement is reviewed in good time.
We Respond to Your Concerns…Fast!
We understand that you may have a lot of questions regarding your guardianship case, especially if you do not understand the legalities involved. As our client, you can always trust us to protect your rights and interests. We work relentlessly to ensure that you stay informed about the legalities of your case and guide you into making the right decisions about your future and that of your loved one.
Some questions will keep popping up as the case progresses. We are always committed to speaking with you at all times. Deciding to work with us allows us to keenly evaluate your situation and provide you with the right guidance based on our knowledge and experience.
We provide you with adequate information that informs your next steps. We continuously update you about the progress of your case and may also ask you some questions in the process just to ensure that your interests are clearer to us.
We Value Initial Consultation Sessions
Some practices may not give you enough time to provide details for your guardianship case. At our firm, we value our initial meeting with you. We use the session to capture all the necessary details of your case.
We do this either in person or over the phone. We use the opportunity to get to know you more, but our main focus is always on understanding the requirements of your case. We give all our clients undivided attention.
We also understand that time is of the essence when it comes to guardianship cases. We, therefore, aim to accomplish a lot during this initial meeting. We use effective information collection strategies to establish the scope of your problems and educate you on the legal regulations that apply to your circumstances.
We also provide you with suggestions on how to handle any challenges that may arise along the way. We give you several options and allow you to decide which one works for you.
We aim to ensure that we are ready to start working soon after this first meeting. Most of our past clients have found the initial consultation more helpful. Besides getting to know us, you can use this meeting to ensure that you better understand your case and what is required of you.
We Provide Honest and Clear Counsel
As our client, you will always benefit from our straightforward and honest advice. You will be engaged by professional guardianship attorneys who understand probate court requirements and procedures.
We always allow you to meet with experienced members of our team at our guardianship attorney Brooklyn office soon after your initial consultation. It is during this second meeting that we get to carry out a full review of your case and advise you in clear terms of where you stand in terms of winning the guardianship case.
We are always keen not to give our clients any false hope or information. If your case does not have any prospects of success, we will always tell you and advise you on what can be done to make things better.
Our team has an in-depth understanding of guardianship laws and will take time to educate you about them to ensure that you know what to expect from your case.
We Have Good Attention to Detail
Guardianship laws keep changing over time, and we understand that rigorous attention to detail is needed when applying for a petition at the probate court. Our practice ensures that these changes are always incorporated in your case.
We not only rely on our experience but also ensure that we stay up to date with the current guardianship and legal trends. Doing this helps us to stay ahead of the curve. We always ensure that our attorneys dedicate a few hours each week to study current guardianship laws and any proposed changes.
We also carry out occasional in-house training as well as information sharing so that every member of our team is fully equipped to handle client cases.
We Use Transparent Approaches
We use thorough selection processes when choosing our guardianship attorneys. This ensures that we have the best team on board. We always emphasize the need for teamwork and enjoy working together to achieve the best results for clients.
Our legal fees are also highly competitive and fixed. While working with us, you will not be required to pay any hidden fees. During your initial consultation meeting with us, you will be advised on what exactly your case will cost, and this amount does not change throughout the process.
Despite the fixed charges, we do not limit ourselves when it comes to our responsibilities in handling your case. Our primary focus is on providing you with the best service and ensuring that you are served satisfactorily.
If complications arise along the way, we make sure that they are handled professionally, without putting you at risk of losing the case. We understand how sensitive guardianship cases are and always endeavor to work with the utmost confidentiality.
We Treat Cases Equally
We do not prioritize some cases over others. To us, every client matters, and we treat each of them with the same level of passion and attention to detail. We do not interfere in any private family decisions associated with the case but only advise you on the outcome of each decision.
We promise to look at your case from every possible legal angle to achieve the outcome you want. We are always committed to overseeing your situation to the end and do not leave any case halfway, however complicated it gets.
As our client, you can be sure that your case will be handled with the seriousness it deserves. We lift the burden of making all the legal decisions concerning your case off your shoulders. We only consult you when it is necessary, and are always glad to represent you in court when the need arises.
Our practice prides itself on offering the best care to all our clients. We also have a specialized team to handle minors and adults who are incapacitated. We are always glad to see the court appoint a trustworthy person as a guardian for the ward. We use all possible strategies to ensure that the court process is less complicated and less costly.
How we work:
Our usual process
Step 1 – Contact
Step 2 – Review and Analysis
Step 3 – Additional Screening
Step 4– Work Ethics
Step 5 – Results
1. Communication with the client.
Every day, our experts are ready to advise you for free!
2. Problem analysis
After providing legal advice and analysis of your documents.
3. Performance of work
The work process of our company’s specialists is based on complete transparency and constant informing of the client.
4. Positive result
After the court has satisfied your claims
5. Your rating, our work
Then we deliver the specified documents to you at a convenient time for you
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Frequently Asked Questions
Guardianship is a temporary situation or relationship where an individual is assigned parental care for a child or incapacitated adult via the court. In most cases, the adult is not the child’s parent. This relationship has to be consented by the real parent, especially if they are of sound mind.
If not, the courts assume the role of making the legal decision on behalf of the parent. The child’s real parents will still have some rights and obligations unless the circumstances do not allow. They might even be required to cater to the child’s financial needs, and when the need arises, they are allowed to terminate the guardianship and have their child under their full care.
The most common type of guardianship known to many people is person guardianship, but there are quite several of them.
- Person guardianship: One is appointed a guardian to a person. The guardian, in this case, takes full or temporary custody of the individual in question and protects them.
- Estate guardianship: This is when a guardian is appointed as the custodian of an estate. They control and protect the assets of a minor, or someone who can’t control the assets themselves due to certain legal, medical or financial circumstances. In most cases, person and estate guardianship go hand in hand.
- Limited guardianship: This is where a guardian has very limited control or power over their role as guardians. There are some decisions that they cannot make. These decisions can only made by the ward.
The main difference between these two is the legal rights the guardian has over the person (mostly applies to minors). Guardianship is temporary, and the guardian may be required to co-parent with the child’s biological parents. This means there are some decisions a guardian cannot make regarding the child, and also, there are still some responsibilities assigned to the biological parent.
Adoption, on the other hand, means the new parents become the legal parents of the child. The biological parents will no longer have any control or rights over the child, as the child will now be fully under the guard of the adoptive parents. This is most often a permanent relationship.
Anyone who is deemed suitable to be a guardian by the court of law. The good news is a guardian does not have to be a relative to the person who needs guardianship. They just need to meet a certain criterion as required by the court, then they will be appointed as guardians:
- Be of sound mind: Being of sound mind and making the right decisions for another person is one of the main factors to be considered for guardianship.
- You have established a relationship with the person and are in good terms. It is very unlikely for the court to assign guardianship to someone who has no relationship with the ward. You have to be known to them, and they should be comfortable being under your care.
- You have to be of the right age: The court doesn’t set an age limit, but one has to be a mature adult to be a guardian.
- You have to prove your credit-worthy: Guardianship comes with responsibilities, and one has to be able to cater to the needs of the person accordingly.
- You must be authorized by the court: Most guardians have to undergo some sort of training before taking over this role. Once you have gone through the requirements and are deemed fit, then you can become a guardian.
Some special circumstances can hinder one from becoming a guardian. These are mostly determined by the court of law when assigning guardianship to individuals. Below are a few scenarios:
- If an individual cannot take care of themselves, then they cannot be guardians to their loved ones. You have to be capable of taking care of yourself and another person for the court to trust you with guardianship.
- Minors: Minors cannot be allowed to be guardians of other people.
- Mental stability: A mentally unstable individual would not be capable of taking care of another person. Also, they cannot make sound decisions, so this would be a hindrance to them being guardians.
- Credit status/bankruptcy: Guardianship comes with a lot of financial responsibilities, so if one is termed bankrupt, then they cannot be guardians.