New York Guardianship Cases Involve Careful Scrutiny By The Guardianship Court

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.A New York Guardianship attorney is familiar with the procedure for the appointment of someone to handle the AIP’s affairs. Recent cases decided by Judges in the Bronx Supreme Court demonstrate the close scrutiny provided by the Judges when a Guardianship is sought. Matter of Willner was decided by Bronx Justice Alexander W. Hunter, Jr. on November 20, 2014. In Willner, a nursing home had filed a petition for the appointment for a 94 year old individual who had been in the facility for a number of months but was not paying the nursing home bills due to her incapacity. The Judge held the Guardianship Hearing at the AIP’s bedside at the nursing home. Following a review of the evidence and testimony the Court appointed an independent attorney as the Guardian of the person and property of the AIP. In particular, the Court directed the appointed Guardian to scrutinize the circumstances surrounding the obtaining by the Nursing Home of a $50,000 payment after the AIP had been diagnosed as not having capacity to handle her own financial affairs. The Court also wanted the Guardian to scrutinize and defended a lawsuit that the Nursing home had commenced against the AIP to collect its unpaid nursing home residency charges. The Court expressed it outrage at the manner in which the Nursing home apparently took financial advantage of the AIP notwithstanding that its medical staff found the AIP incapable of handling her affairs.

Another recent Bronx case is entitled Matter of Caryl and was decided on November 25, 2014 by Justice Sharon A. M. Aarons. In Caryl the Guardianship petition was filed by the AIP’s daughter who claimed that her brother had made questionable transfers of the mother’s property into his own name. Although the Guardianship Hearing was started in the Courthouse, the Judge became very concerned that the AIP’s interests were not being fully protected or presented. Since the AIP was not present in the Court, the Judge moved the hearing to the AIP’s home so that the Court could speak with her and be satisfied that her interests were being preserved and advanced.

I have represented numerous petitioners and family members in Guardianship proceedings. As can be seen from the above cases, it is important to present all information about the matter to the Court and to be certain that the best interests of the AIP are considered first and foremost.

New York Guardianship Attorney Jules Martin Haas, Esq. has been representing clients in New York Guardianship Proceedings, throughout the past 30 years in New York, including Queens and Nassau Counties. If you or someone you know is involved with or has questions about a New York Guardianship matter, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 or email:, for an initial consultation.

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