Article 81 of New York’s Mental Hygiene Law establishes the system to have a guardian appointed for an individual who is determined to be incapacitated and can’t make personal or financial decisions. The proceeding also must find that there are no “advance directives” that the “alleged incapacitated person” (A.I.P.) may have signed, such as a power of attorney. If such planning has been done by the “A.I.P.” who had capacity there may be no need for the appointment of a guardian and no taking away of control from that individual. If not, the appointment of a guardian may be necessary.
The guardianship system often provides the safety net for persons who have not appreciated the need to establish the legal structure through powers of attorney or trusts to manage their financial affairs and prepare health care proxies and “living wills” to have someone make health care decisions for them when they become incapacitated, thus avoiding the guardianship.
The guardianship attorneys who have extensive experience in guardianship matters at Pierro, Connor & Strauss represent families and friends of persons who have functional issues in these proceedings. A guardianship lawyer in our practice can answer your questions about how and when a guardianship may be the appropriate solution for a person who has lost capacity, the process, the likelihood of success in obtaining the appointment of a guardian, and the costs involved in the proceeding.