In New York, there are two main types of Guardianship: Guardians appointed under Article 17-A of the Surrogate Court Procedure Act (SCPA) and Guardians appointed under Article 81 of the Mental Health Law (MHL).
Under Article 17-A of the SCPA, the Court has the authority to grant guardianship to parents of mentally ill or developmentally disabled children who are about to turn 18. A 17-A guardianship can be over the person, property or both. In addition, a 17-A guardian is authorized to make healthcare decisions.
Under MHL Article 81, a Court has the authority to appoint a guardian to manage the personal or financial affairs of a person who cannot manage themselves due to some incapacity, for example, persons who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, elderly, or victims of trauma. An Article 81 Guardianship can be sought in more situations that in 17-A. It can be granted where an individual admits to being incapacitated or where an individual is determined by the Court to be incapacitated. Still, an Article 81 Guardianship is not as powerful as a 17-A Guardianship. The Court will only give the Guardian the powers absolutely necessary to meet the ward’s needs.
If you are appointed Guardian, there are many duties you have to carry out:
1- The guardian is responsible for managing the finances of the incapacitated person, including paying bills, collecting assets, making investments, and exercising any financial rights that the incapacitated person would be able to,
2- The guardian is also responsible for making healthcare decisions for the incapacitated person,
3- The guardian has the power to determine where the incapacitated person should live and whether nursing home placement is appropriate,
4- The guardian is responsible for providing the incapacitated person with proper medical care and daily living upkeep, such as cleaning the residence, getting adequate home care, grooming, dressing, bathing, and so forth,
5- The guardian has the duty of petitioning the Family Court for orders of protection if physical abuse is an issue,
6- The guardian may also be given the authority to make gifts to reduce estate taxes,
7- The guardian is in charge of taking steps necessary to obtain Medicaid for the incapacitated person, and
8- The guardian must file annual reports regarding income and disbursements for the incapacitated person.
You can see our website for more information: Responsibilities of a New York Guardian
An experienced estate attorney can help you get appointed as a Guardian and make your job easier by alerting you as to the responsibilities and duties which come with the role of Guardian. If you have a question about becoming a Guardian, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.