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New York Guardianship Cases Are Public Records

The appointment of a Guardian in New York is provided for in Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL). There are two areas in which a Guardian can be needed. A person who is found to be incapacitated may need a Guardian for personal needs. A personal needs Guardian will have the authority to make decisions regarding health care, living arrangements and other personal decisions regarding the AIP’s affairs.

A Guardian for property management has the power to collect and control the assets of the incapacitated person. These assets may include bank accounts, brokerage accounts and real estate. It is the Guardian’s duty to collect these assets or place these assets under the Guardian’s control and use them for the person’s best interests.

The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published many articles regarding Article 81 Guardianship and the issues concerning these proceedings. Another aspect of a Guardianship is that the Guardian must file a complete account of his actions with the Court every year.

A Guardianship case is commenced in the Supreme Court of the county where the incapacitated person resides. A petition is filed with the Court along with an Order to Show Cause . A Guardianship case is a very important proceeding since it allows another person to take control over aspects of the incapacitated person’s affairs. In a number of cases, an issue has arose as to whether the record of proceedings regarding the Guardianship should be sealed by the Court to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. This is due to the fact that sensitive issues regarding the person’s life such as medical conditions and assets are being dealt with and openly displayed during the course of the Court proceeding.

In a recent decision by Acting County Court Judge Gary F. Knobel dated September 5, 2017 entitled Matter of Amelia G., the Court refused a request to seal the record in a Guardianship case. Judge Knobel reviewed the various statutes and rules regarding the sealing of Court records and the interplay of these provisions with the sensitive issues presented in a Guardianship case. The Court found that there was not good cause shown for sealing the record that would override the public interest in full access to Court proceedings and records.

I have represented many petitioners and other individuals in Guardianship cases regarding the appointment of a Guardian and Guardianship accountings. These matters can be very complicated and the assistance of experienced legal counsel should be considered. If you have a question or issue regarding a Guardianship or an incapacitated person call me now for a free review.

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: jules.haas@verizon.net, for an initial consultation.

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