Under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, a guardian may be appointed for a person who lacks the capacity to provide for his or her own needs when there are no advance directives in place to manage financial or personal matters. We frequently represent family members and others in the appointment of a guardian for their loved ones with diminished capacity.
We have been involved in countless Guardianship matters over the past decade, acting as Court-appointed counsel to the Alleged Incapacitated Person (AIP) and as Court Evaluator, or representing Petitioners, Objectants, and Guardians. The Court Evaluator, a key role in most Article 81 Guardianships, investigates petitioners’ claims and interviews subject AIPs and parties to the proceeding. The evaluator makes a report to the Court, providing relevant factual information, and recommending whether the need for a guardian exists and who can be appointed. Often the court will appoint counsel for an AIP to insure that his or her rights are protected.
When we represent individuals who wish to become Guardians, we take the time to gather the all relevant facts, determine whether alternatives to Guardianship exist, and advise the client of potential issues which may arise. We guide the client through the Court process, facilitating the desired outcome. We assist with obtaining educational and bond requirements and help the guardian to develop a care plan. Once the Guardian appointment is commissioned, we continue to represent, counsel and assist our clients with their fiduciary duties, such as preparing and filing initial and annual accountings, and protecting or selling property if needed to pay for their ward’s care.
We also represent individuals who are adverse parties in a proceeding, family members, care providers, even persons who are alleged to be incapacitated, though they are not.