What Happens When A Guardian Or Estate Fiduciary Needs To Safeguard An Apartment

An Article 81 Guardian appointed to safeguard the person and property of an incapacitated person may need to deal with an assortment of issues.  Similar responsibilities are given to the Executors and Administrators of an estate.

In particular, the property interests of both an incapacitated person and a decedent’s estate may involve an apartment where the person was residing.  When a person dies, if the apartment was not owned in nature of a co-op or condominium unit, the estate fiduciary must arrange to obtain access to the apartment.  The need for access can include securing valuable articles of tangible personal property, locating asset information such as tax returns, bank account statements and brokerage and retirement fund information.  Additionally, the apartment will need to be cleaned out at some point and returned to the possession of the landlord.  Of course, if there are other family members living in the apartment who refuse to leave or provide access or who have claims to continue to occupy the premises in the nature of succession rights, then the fiduciary must grapple with these issues.  The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published numerous articles concerning problems in obtaining possession of a decedent’s real property.

The Guardian for an incapacitated person may face similar issues particularly if the ward is now residing in a nursing home or other location.  An issue may arise as to whether the incapacitated person intends to return to the community to live in the apartment.  A landlord may want the ward evicted, particularly if the apartment is rent regulated.

The Guardian may also need to contend with eviction proceedings if the ward failed to pay rent or otherwise violated the terms of the lease.  It is the obligation of the Guardian to protect and defend the interests of the incapacitated person.  A recent Brooklyn Guardianship case involving landlord tenant issues resulted in the eviction of a ward due to allegations of causing a nuisance.    In Beuhler 1992 Family Trust v. Longo, a landlord commenced an eviction proceeding in Brooklyn landlord-tenant Court.  The tenant was represented by an Article 81 Guardian.  The landlord alleged that the ward had engaged in conduct constituting a nuisance including harassing other building tenants, sending threatening e-mails, screaming and banging on doors and placing boxes in the hallway.  After reviewing all of the evidence at a trial, the Court found that the ward’s conduct constituted a nuisance and granted the landlord a judgment of possession.

As shown by the Longo case, handling affairs as a Guardian or Executor or Administrator can involve complex problems relating to property interests including apartment rights.  I have represented Guardians and estate fiduciaries in these and other real estate matters throughout New York.  Call me now for a free discussion regarding your Guardianship or Estate issue.  We offer reasonable and flexible fee arrangements.  An experienced New York City Guardianship attorney may be essential in these cases.

New York Trusts and Estates Attorney Jules Martin Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to Guardianships, probate and estate settlement throughout New York City including Queens County and the Bronx.   If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.

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