Guardianship litigation and consultation are core focuses of New York Lawyers Team. Our attorneys have many years of combined experience counseling and representing clients in all aspects of guardianship and surrogate decision-making matters. We know that finding a quick and favorable resolution is important to those facing either situation. We pride ourselves on being responsive to our clients and acting quickly when an emergency arises and the appointment of a surrogate decision maker becomes necessary.
What Is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal process by which a court appoints a representative for a person with a disability to make personal and/or financial decisions on his or her behalf. If the person with a disability did not previously execute powers of attorney or other estate planning documents naming a representative, or if the representative is acting inappropriately, pursuing legal guardianship can be an advantageous way, and sometimes the only way, to protect the disabled person's welfare. Once a guardian is appointed, the court continues to act for the disabled person's best interests and oversees the decisions of the guardian.
How We Can Help
Guardianship is an important legal tool that can be used to protect a loved one. However, the process, standards and procedures can be very complicated. Our New York attorneys have served as legal counsel in thousands of guardianship cases, a significant number of them contested. We are adept at navigating the courts and the requirements that must be followed to both pursue and maintain guardianship.
Actions we can pursue on your behalf include:
- Filing petitions to obtain guardianship of a person and/or estate of a person with a disability
- Serving as legal counsel in guardianship trials when someone with a disability has objected to guardianship or there is a dispute about who should serve as guardian
- Bringing cross-petitions for guardianship on behalf of family members or others who want to serve as guardian
- Taking action against an agent who is acting inappropriately or harming the person with a disability
- Pursuing orders of protection and citations to recover against people who are exploiting or abusing someone with a disability
- Preparing inventories and accountings of financial activity on behalf of a court-appointed guardian
- Services to Hospitals and Health Care Systems
A significant portion of our New York team's guardianship practice includes pursuing guardianship on behalf of hospitals and other health care organizations to protect patients who lack capacity to make informed decisions about their treatment.
Our New York lawyers represent over 70 hospitals and health care organizations in the New York area, providing consultation regarding surrogate decision-making issues and legal representation when guardianship is appropriate. We also routinely provide staff training on surrogate decision making and the guardianship process.
We are especially sensitive to the unique and multifaceted issues that health care systems face in determining the appropriate actions to pursue when a patient lacks capacity and has no appropriate surrogate decision maker. Our actions are designed to be efficient so organizations can avoid costs and improve patient care.
Services to Individuals
A substantial part of our practice is also dedicated to representing family members or other individuals in developing and pursuing an appropriate plan to help protect the best interests of someone with a disability, including pursuing guardianship where appropriate.
We often receive calls from concerned family members or friends asking, "What can we do to protect our loved one?" We understand these decisions are often difficult and emotional. We believe our role is to make this process clear and be as helpful as possible.
Guardianship of Minors
In addition to disabled adults' estates, our attorneys regularly represent family members and other parties in minor guardianship cases. Guardianship of a minor is appropriate when the minor has a parent who is unable to make and carry out day-to-day child care decisions or when the minor has received significant funds from sources such as an inheritance or a lawsuit.
If your child is involved in a personal injury lawsuit, we will work to ensure that any settlement conforms to the requirements of the Probate Court. Our firm is unique in that we have sophisticated estate planning attorneys who regularly practice before the court in minor guardianship cases. Our attorneys have years of experience structuring settlements and managing funds on behalf of minors, both with and without disabilities, to maximize their funds in the short and long term.