Establishing a Guardianship for a Drug Abuser

Under New York laws, there must be a valid reason for the appointment of a guardian establishing that the person is unable to care for the person’s personal needs or financial care. In deciding whether the appointment of a guardian is necessary, the court must consider all evidence and testimony and make independent observations as to whether the guardianship is necessary and has the authority to approve the designated guardian.

For example if a family member is a drug user, it may be necessary to establish a guardianship of the person and the property if there is a valid concern that the person might squander his or her funds on drugs or cause harm to himself or herself.

Another reason for establishing a New York guardianship for someone who is a drug user is that the person may be mentally or physically incapacitated to make financial or personal decisions. In extreme cases, they may not even be able to care for him or herself on a day to day basis such as bathing or preparing meals or going to doctor appointments.

It is important to talk to a New York estate attorney about the type of guardianship and the reason for the guardianship you wish to establish. Guardianship cases in New York are handled in both Family Court and Surrogate’s Court.


Drug abuser guardianships are brought under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law. Your attorney will file a petition for appointment of guardianship with the proper court. A hearing will be scheduled. If the guardianship is for a person over the age of 14, you will also need to obtain consent of the child and written permission from the parents, if you are a third party making the request for guardianship. If a parent or both parents are deceased, it will be necessary to present the death certificate(s) to the court. It is also necessary to present the child’s original birth certificate and proof of citizenship and proof of the child’s residence.

The court will appoint a neutral court evaluator to present a report to the court as to the competency of the alleged incapacitated person (AIP). A court may also appoint an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person.

Witnesses and testimony may be heard at the hearing from family and other interested parties and the person who is the subject of the guardianship, as long as the person is over the age of 14 years, in helping to determine who should be appointed as guardian. The judge will decide whether or not a guardianship appointment is appropriate. In order to become a legal guardian, you must receive a letter of appointment from the judge presiding over the guardianship case.

If you wish to establish a guardianship in New York for someone with a drug problem or for other valid reasons, it is recommended that you speak with a New York guardianship attorney for advice on setting up the guardianship and the necessary documentation that is required.

If you wish to speak to a New York guardianship attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.

Attorney Albert Goodwin

Law Offices of
Albert Goodwin, PLLC
31 W 34 Str, Suite 7058
New York, NY 10001

Tel. 212-233-1233

[email protected]

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