Articles Posted in Guardianships

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As the year 2015 comes to an end, it is a good time to revisit some basic planning goals.  Much has been written about Advanced Planning.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed this topic in earlier posts.  Essentially, Advanced Planning involves a number of considerations.  Concerns regarding lifetime disabilities and incapacity may be addressed by preparing documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, a Living Will, a Health Care Proxy and a Living Trust. Continue reading →

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A Guardianship proceeding in New York is controlled by the provisions of Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL).  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed in earlier posts that the New York Courts have the jurisdiction to impose Guardianship directions generally over in-State matters.  MHL Section 81.04 provides, in part, that relief can be provided for a New York State resident or a non-resident that is present in the State.  Furthermore, MHL 81.05 set forth that the proceeding is to be commenced in the county where the alleged incapacitated person resides or is physically located.

Guardianships are typically controlled by local State laws. In the past, complicated problems have arisen where Guardianship matters involve more than one State. For example, a Guardianship may have been put into place in New York. If it is decided that it would be best to move the incapacitated person to another State such as New Jersey or Florida, the problem that would be faced is whether and to what extent the new State would recognize the Guardianship determinations that occurred in New York. In many instances a new Guardianship case would need to be commenced in the new State in order to have a local Guardian appointed. Continue reading →

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A New York Guardianship proceeding under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”) typically requires that the Court find the alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”) to be incapacitated. The focus of the Court is on the functional abilities of the AIP and the manner in which the AIP can handle activities of daily living without assistance. These activities include the ability to feed oneself or handle necessary personal hygiene.

The Guardianship Court will also focus upon whether a person has advanced directives or alternative means by which to accommodate a disability. For example, as part of the creation of an Estate Plan, a person may have put into place a Power of Attorney, a Living Will, a Health Care Proxy or a Living Trust. These papers provide a means by which a person can have their personal needs and property management attended to after they no longer have the capacity to do so by themselves. There may also be situations where caretakers such as family members or nursing professionals may be in place to care for and monitor a person’s ongoing needs despite an apparent disability. Continue reading →

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Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law contains the provisions regarding the appointment of a Guardian. As discussed in earlier posts in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog, when a person is found to be incapacitated the Court can appoint a Guardian for personal needs and also for property management.

A Guardianship case is commenced by the petitioner who files a proposed Order to Show Cause and a Verified Petition with the Court. Upon receipt of these papers, the Court will review the allegations to determine whether it will sign the Order. Continue reading →

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Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”) is entitled “Proceedings for Appointment of a Guardian for Personal Needs or Property Management”. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has posted many discussions regarding the process of having a Guardian appointed for an incapacitated person.

The statute provides that the Court may only appoint a Guardian after the Court has conducted a hearing (MHL §81.11). At the hearing, the parties can “present evidence” “call witnesses”, “cross examine witnesses” and be represented by an attorney. Also, the statute requires that the Court hearing take place in the presence of the person who is alleged to be incapacitated. The most essential element in the Guardianship case is typically whether a person is incapacitated. Incapacity is defined in MHL § 81.02 which sets out the basic criteria for a Guardianship appointment. Continue reading →

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A New York Guardianship Proceeding is commenced by the filing of a petition.  Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) Section 81.08 sets forth the requirements of the petition.  MHL Section 81.06 designates the persons who may file the proceeding which includes family members as well as any other person who has concerns regarding the alleged incapacitated person (AIP).  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has described the Guardianship process in numerous earlier posts.

It is very common that Guardianship proceedings involve litigation where family members compete for appointment so that they can control the finances and personal needs of the AIP. Continue reading →

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Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) contains the provisions regarding the appointment of a Guardian for property management and personal needs for a person who is found to be incapacitated.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has discussed in earlier posts the procedure to obtain the appointment of a Guardian.  Typically the proceeding is commenced by the filing of a petition with the Court along with a proposed Order to Show Cause.  MHL Section 81.08 sets forth the information to be included in the petition.  This information includes the name and address of the alleged incapacitated person’s (AIP) closest next of kin who are also given notice regarding the commencement of the Court case.

In some cases, a relative or other interested person may file a cross-petition with the Court in which they oppose the appointment of a Guardian or ask the Court to appoint the cross-petitioner as the Guardian rather than the original petitioner. Continue reading →

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The New York Probate Lawyer Blog contains numerous posts regarding Article 81 Guardianship proceedings. These cases are started when a person files a petition with the Court alleging that an individual is incapacitated and needs the appointment of a Guardian to assist with the individual’s affairs. Typically, the petition seeks the appointment of a Guardian for personal needs and for property management for the alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”).

Since determining that a person is incapacitated and requires the appointment of a Guardian is a significant deprivation of a person’s individual freedom, the Courts are very diligent to make sure that the interests of the AIP are fully understood and protected. In most Guardianship cases the Court will appoint a Court Evaluator to investigate the issues concerning the petition and to prepare a report for the Court to review. Sometimes the Court will also appoint an attorney to represent the AIP in the case. Continue reading →

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Guardianship proceedings in New York are governed by the provisions of Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”). Earlier posts in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog have discussed many of the aspects of guardianship for incapacitated persons (“IP”). For example, the statute provides for the appointment of a guardian for personal needs and a guardian for property management. Typically, when the Court appoints a guardian, the same individual will act in both capacities. However, there are instances when the Court will name different persons to serve in these capacities. This may occur when it is determined that a family member is best suited to make personal decisions for the incapacitated person but that someone else is more qualified to handle the IP’s financial affairs.

As discussed in earlier posts, the Court will conduct a hearing to determine whether any appointment is necessary. In many instances, the alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”) will have prepared and signed advanced directives prior to the commencement of the proceedings. Such advanced directives would include a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. Generally the existence of these directives may constitute available resources that might be sufficient so as to preclude the necessity for a guardianship.

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The New York Guardianship Law is contained in Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”). As discussed in numerous posts in the New York Probate Lawyer Blog, a Court will appoint a Guardian for an individual’s property management and personal needs if it determines that the person is incapacitated. The Guardianship law serves a very useful purpose in providing a process by which family members or others concerned about someone’s well-being can obtain assistance from the Court to protect a person who is unable to care for themself. There are many situations that can result in an incapacity such as an accident or an illness in the form of a stroke, heart attack or similar occurrence. Incapacity may also result from the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

As noted in earlier posts, proper estate planning, which includes the use of advance directives such as a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Living Will and Living Trust, may avoid the need for a Court appointed Guardian. These advance directives allow a person to select their agents and representatives who are to have the authority to make property management and health care decisions without the need for a Guardianship proceeding and the appointment of a Guardian who may not have been a person’s first choice to handle his affairs. Continue reading →

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