What It Takes to Become a Legal Guardian in New York

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People who are in their gray years will naturally and gradually lose the abilities to take care of themselves and manage their finances or estate. Rather than allow this process to slowly damage their wellbeing, it is important to establish a legal guardian ahead of time that will be tasked to control and care for their estate, as well as making important health related decisions for them. Sometimes called a conservator for a ward, a guardian fulfills a crucial role and can be assigned different responsibilities depending on the needs of their ward.

Some roles of a legal guardian can include:

  • Allocating funds to pay monthly bills.
  • Selecting medical processes to protect ward’s health.
  • Ensuring their ward does not neglect their own health.
  • Planning tax procedures for their ward.
  • Completing monetary transactions for their ward.

Two Guardianship Roles & How to Get Them

In New York, there are two types of guardians: A-81 and 17-A guardianships. In an A-81 guardianship, the conservator “cares for” an elderly person who cannot care for themselves or their estate due to mental or physical debilitations. In a 17-A guardianship, the conservator is assigned to a special needs child near adulthood who will soon need to make difficult decisions but requires the help of their guardian.

In either situation, the responsibilities and how to gain them are similar. It often begins by asking the court through a petition to grant guardianship, citing why it is necessary. There are few restrictions to who can create a petition in New York but the court often favors close friends and family members when there is more than one petitioner. An evaluator will then look into the private life of the potential conservator, determining if they have the capability of representing their ward and that their guardianship is even necessary.

If the evaluator approves of the petitioner, a hearing will be set with the same court that accepted the petition. At this hearing, the petitioner will need to bring an argument as to why they are seeking guardianship of an individual and why it is necessary. Although this process has already been somewhat completed by the evaluator, it is important that the potential conservator be able to explain it back to the court. Depending on what the court hears, and if there are no official opposition papers filed against the petitioner, a decision will be rendered the same day.

Legal Help for Guardians in New York & Long Island

Sometimes the people who want to help others need help themselves. If you are seeking guardianship over a loved one but do not know where to begin, Davidov Law Group can be your guide. Our Nassau County guardianship attorneys can put 25+ years of experience to work for you, ensuring that both yourself and your ward are set for a comfortable and beneficial future. Contact us today for more information.

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