Guardianship is a legal tool that can help you protect the people you love when they cannot protect themselves. Whether you have a child who needs a responsible adult to care for them, or an elderly or disabled relative who needs someone to manage their affairs, guardianship can give you the authority and responsibility to do so. Guardianship is not something you can do on your own. You need to go through a court process to prove that your loved one is unable to make decisions for themselves and that you are the best person to act as their guardian. You also need to follow the court’s rules and report on your actions as a guardian. That’s why you need a seasoned Queens guardianship lawyer who can ensure you’re acting in accordance with the law, every step of the way. Contact Vasiliou Law today.
A knowledgeable Queens estate planning lawyer can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of guardianship, explore alternatives such as trusts or powers of attorney, and prepare the necessary documents and evidence to petition for guardianship. An estate planning attorney can also help you avoid or resolve any conflicts that may arise with other family members or interested parties. Don’t wait until it’s too late to plan for guardianship. Reach out to a seasoned attorney from Vasiliou Law today and get the peace of mind you deserve.
First, you should understand that there are two parties you can get a guardianship for: minor children under the age of 18 (or sometimes 21) and incapacitated/intellectually disabled adults (formally known as Article 81 guardianships). Many individuals will appoint guardians for their children, should they ever pass away or become incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for and raise their child. If you’re ever unable to care for your child, the guardian you appoint will step in and raise your child on your behalf. Your guardian will essentially have all the power you do as a parent.
Though nobody ever wants to think about being unable to care for their child, if you don’t appoint a guardian in your will, the court will appoint whoever they see fit to raise your child, should you ever be unable to do so on your own. This is why it is so important that you appoint a guardian for your minor children in your will–nobody understands your child’s needs and best interests as you do.
To get guardianship of a child, you will file a petition in court. As long as you are at least 18 years old, you should be allowed to submit a petition to the court to become someone else’s guardian. If a child is to receive money or property from the deceased parent, the individual filing for a guardianship will do so with the Surrogate’s Court. If the child will not be receiving money or property, however, the individual filing for guardianship must do so through the Family Court. Even though this may sound straightforward, you’re always best going through the process with an experienced guardianship lawyer who can ensure your guardianship is a legally-binding one.
Guardianships for incapacitated or intellectually disabled adults, on the other hand, can be a bit more complicated to obtain. To get a guardianship over an adult, you will have to prove that the adult is unable to care for their own property or well-being and that if you are not appointed guardian, the individual will likely suffer some sort of physical or financial harm due to the consequences of being unable to fulfill their own needs. The person filing for guardianship is known as a petitioner. Typically, guardians of incapacitated adults are family members of the incapacitated individual, but not always.
As long as the judge agrees that the individual is incapacitated, the petitioner will have to complete a training course and be officially approved by the court. You should also note that there are three types of guardianships for incapacitated adults: guardianships of the property, guardianships for personal needs, or guardianships for both. If the court determines the incapacitated individual cannot manage their finances on their own, but can still do basic things around the house to care for themselves, the court may only allow a guardianship of the property. Full guardianships, however, give the guardian the legal authority to make virtually all decisions on behalf of the individual, including healthcare decisions, making doctor’s appointments, paying their bills, handling their assets, and more.
The process of obtaining a guardianship can be a complicated one, but a competent guardianship lawyer can effectively guide you through it. Contact Vasiliou Law today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.