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  • Writer's pictureNicole J. Zuvich

What is an Article 81 guardianship in New York?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

In New York, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. In some cases, that is a positive. In others, it is not so pleasant. Sometimes people suffer an illness, condition or injury that leaves them unable to care for themselves. If a loved one is suddenly incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs, it can be extremely helpful to have a plan for a guardianship already in place. If not, New York law provides for something known as an Article 81 guardianship.

Essential points about an Article 81 guardianship

When trying to get an Article 81 guardianship, it will up to a judge to decide if the person is incapacitated and needs a guardian. Incapacitation is based on whether the person cannot care for themselves or their property and if they will be harmed because of their inability to do so. Since these individuals are 18 and older and are legal adults, the petitioner seeking the guardianship must file for it with the court.

Once the person is declared incapacitated, it is not over. The guardian will need to be trained and approved before officially being named the guardian. The guardian, if approved, can help with property, personal needs or both. That might include making healthcare decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person, handling living arrangements, seeking benefits and having access to their personal records. If the incapacitated person cannot oversee paying their own bills, the guardian can do that for them. For all intents and purposes, the guardian is the overseer for the incapacitated person.

For an Article 81 guardianship, knowing the law and having help is key

Getting an Article 81 guardianship will require a prospective guardian to follow certain protocols and go to court to complete the process. Since this can be complicated, time-consuming and worrisome, it is important to have representation to try and complete it quickly and efficiently.

It is easy for people who cannot care for themselves to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous relatives and others. The best interests of the incapacitated person are paramount, so to provide the necessary care and watch over them as they need to be watched, it is useful to have professional assistance with the entire process and getting an Article 81 guardianship. For this and any other area of elder law, estate planning and more, discussing the case with caring people can be imperative.

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