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Guardianship Attorney Staten Island Services: Guardianship and Decision-making for Persons with Special Needs

Facts: More than 30 percent of adults suffering from disabilities haven’t had post graduate education nor had a job since leaving high school.

Children that have lost their biological parents or adults that have suffered illnesses that have affected their mental processes might be unable to handle their own needs. In each case, the state allows you to file for guardianship over such persons.

To become a guardian, you must demonstrate every ability to serve in the role as a guardian. Our guardianship attorney Staten Island services can assist you do this.

For most parents, the thought of their kids turning 18 and leaving home is a good thing. They believe that the kids are now adults and independent. But what happens for the kids that have turned 18 years old and they are disabled, or have special needs? Well, if you are a parent to a child with a disability such as intellectual or developmental, you need to consider getting a guardian for the person, their estate or both.

In no legal field have we ever been challenged more than when representing families with kids that have special needs. Over the years, we have had the pleasure of working with families in Stapleton that need an estate plan for their families with kids suffering from autism, Down syndrome and more.

One of the topics that many families find taunting is how to manage the less-abed kid after they attain 18 years, and whether to opt for a guardianship.

A huge discussion point with clients is to determine the cognitive capability of the kid and the parent’s need to be involved in the financial life of the kid as well as the medical affairs. Additional factors that affect the analysis include if the child needs external care, as well as the financial resources of the parent.

What is the Definition of Legal Guardianship?

This is an appointment by the probate court that seeks to offer responsibility over an individual that is incapacitated or that cannot make the right decisions as an adult. The idea is to have someone take over the mandate of looking after the individual. Guardianship can be appointed in a court of law or through the will.

What are the Different Types of Guardianships?

There are various types of guardianships in New York:

Guardian of the Person

This can be full or limited. This person makes personal decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual. These decisions include:

  • The right to determine where the individual will live.
  • The right to put the person into a nursing home.
  • The right to choose medical treatment on behalf of the individual.
  • The right to allow or reject travel plans.
  • The right to file for divorce or not.

A full guardian in this case exercises all the rights similar to what apparent does, but a limited guardian of the person has limited authority over the decisions that they make.

Guardian of the Estate

Just like the former type, here the guardianship can be full or limited. The guardian of the estate is tasked with handling financial decisions on behalf of the ward. These include paying the bills on behalf of the individual, deciding which bills to pay and which ones not to pay, investing the money of the individual, the right to sign contracts and apply for benefits on behalf of the individual and many more.

Why Does a Special Needs Person Need a Guardian

The law in New York understands that there are people that have reached the age of 18 and cannot make decisions on their own or they are incapacitated hence need help to perform daily activities. The probate court refers to two Articles in the state to make decisions:

Article 81 and 17A

An Incapacitated individual often needs help in taking care of themselves and their property. The assignment of a guardian is often carried out in a court of law under Articles 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law and Article 17A of the Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act.

When a person attains 18 years of age, they are considered legally competent to make any decisions by themselves. If such a person is intellectually or developmentally disabled, Article 17A Guardianship is used to determine the appointment of a guardian.

According to Article 17A, a certification from a physician, psychologist or both must be presented in court alongside the petition for guardianship for the application to be considered.

The certification verifies to the court that the intended ward has a disability and is unable to manage their affairs effectively. The surrogate court then appoints a guardian to take care of the person, their property, or both.

Article 17A is quite broad and highlights most of the decisions a parent, guardian, or ward needs to make – including healthcare and financial decisions. Each guardianship cases differs in terms of the responsibilities involved. If an individual is assigned guardianship through Article 17A, they could have few or several responsibilities depending on the level of disability of the ward.

Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law is commonly used in cases where individuals have cognitive and functional limitations that may hinder them from completing daily responsibilities without the assistance of someone else.

This Article highlights every detail in the guardianship process from determining the suitability of individuals for appointment to training them and defining their responsibilities.

For instance, when it comes to appointing a guardian for a person or their property, there are various aspects that the court must look into including the necessity of the appointment, whether the ideal candidate agrees to the appointment, and the nature and extent of the ward’s property and financial affairs.  


The Law Considers Him to be an Adult

When the child turns 18, the law in Stapleton sees him to be an adult. The reason for this is that you will lose all the rights you had previously as a parent – right from access to their finances to medical records. The child is now considered a legal adult that has the ability to make decisions on their own.

It is critical at this point that you become the guardian to the child through a legal process, or you appoint someone to be the legal guardian. You need to go through the legal process so that you are able to make the right decisions for the child, making sure they are getting the care and help they need.

For you to ensure that there is no lapse in the care that the child is getting, it is wise that you make use of our guardianship attorney Staten Island services to guide you in preparing for that moment when the kid turns 18 years. The attorney understands the consequences that come with failure to handle the guardianship issue on time.

Guardianship and Criminal Justice

Once the person turns 18 years old, they are considered adults under the criminal justice system. This also goes for special needs people, regardless of the disability.

You know how kids are, and you won’t prevent them from breaking the law, but you can put in place measures that will make the case easier. When a child has a disability, it doesn’t prevent them from being regarded as adults. When you have a guardian for the child, you become the advocate for the child, making sure that they have the necessary legal representation.

Every person needs to have legal representation when something occurs. With a guardian, you can help your kid to get the representation they deserve.

Ensuring Your Child Isn’t Exploited

We live in a world where the vulnerable are exploited by the strong. This is a common occurrence and sadly many people that exploit others tend to get away with it. Studies show that adults that have disabilities are more likely to fall victim to abuse, fraud and other types of emotional exploitation than other people. When you have a guardianship in place, you can still monitor the kid’s finances and the living situations to protect them from the people that are out to exploit them.

One of the aims of the guardian is to make sure the ward is protected. Make sure that they aren’t exploited at all.

Guardianship and Higher education

A few years ago, someone with special needs didn’t have the chance to attend college. However, times are changing – many higher institutions offer programs and housing that are ideal for special needs

With a guardian in place, you have the ability to make sure the child continues to get the support that they need as they seek to further their education.

The Need for Resources and Programs Geared towards Special Needs

As a guardian to a child with special needs, you need to help them find the necessary programs and resources that will make them live an independent life.

Coming Up With a Course of Action

In trying to determine how to provide for the child with special needs, it is vital that you take into account a few factors. Remember that every kid is unique and needs a special action tailored to the child. Here are a few factors that come into play:

  • Is the kid capable of communicating their needs and wants when it comes to their care?
  • The degree to which the kid can take care of themselves – clothe, feed and take care of their basic needs.
  • Whether the child can take care of themselves, including employment and finances.
  • Whether the child needs outside care, such as an assisted facility.
  • The level to chich the kid understands the consequences and effects of their actions.
  • The finances and income of the kid and the kid’s family.

In most cases, it is vital that you talk to the child about their needs and wants, if they can express themselves. Don’t just decide for them regarding what they want, rather involve them in the decision making and planning.

As much as you have the mandate to make the decisions, the law in Stapleton requires that the child needs to participate in the process to a large extent. In many cases that we have handled, issues have cropped up when the child was left out of the entire process.

The guardianship needs to make sure that it doesn’t infringe on the child’s independence especially if it isn’t tailored toward the needs of the child and the level of functioning. For instance, an autistic child has the ability to work, earn income, use public transportation and pay their rent, and might not require parental control after attaining the age of 18.

If you decide to get a guardian for the child, then you need to start the process typically about 6 months before the kid turns 18 years old. This gives you enough time for you to obtain psychological, medical or any other opinion that you require. You also have the time to prepare the court petition for appointment of the guardian.

The Legal Fees Involved

One of the issues with many families is the legal fees that they will incur when they seek guardianship attorney Staten Island services. The amount you pay depends on various factors including how complicated the case is and the number of hearings that we have to attend, the investigation we need to perform and the documentation needed. Additionally, the effort we put in to work with families, because different families have different issues to deal with.

If you as a family are easy to work with, you provide all the information we need and you aren’t squabbling all the time and you show up for all the meetings, then the costs won’t be that much.

After the guardianship is established, then all the costs need to be paid from the ward’s estate. Guardians also get to charge for their services. So, before you decide to go for a guardian, try and review your financial situation to know whether you can afford to take care of the kid.

Confident game on the legal field. We will protect you from problems!


Marianna Schwartsman

Why Should You Consult Us?

Guardianship is a legal process carried out by the court. The process is often initiated by a ward’s relative or loved one who petitions the court to be appointed as a guardian.

When you request the court to appoint you as a guardian on behalf of a loved one’s beneficiary, the court may either grant your request or deny depending on how well you present your case.

If the court responds in the affirmative, you may be given authority to make financial, legal, education-based, and other critical decisions on behalf of the ward. The court may also restrict you from making only specific decisions and not others.

Before granting you guardianship, the court will give proper notice to the involved parties and set a date for a hearing which must be held. The purpose of doing this is to establish if a guardianship is necessary and if you are the best candidate for the role.

Our work is to ensure that you carry out the petition process correctly. We aim at guiding you from the first day when you present the petition in court to the final date when you are appointed as the guardian.

Even after being appointed, we continue to assist you to make the right legal decisions on behalf of the ward since you will still be accountable to the court should things go wrong.

Our firm has a history of handling guardianship cases. Several factors make us a practice of choice over other firms. Some of the benefits you receive from working with us are as follows:

We understand all Guardianship Matters

We know that guardianship is a legal proceeding that seeks to protect the interests of an individual who is unable to act on their behalf. We appreciate the fact that you have come to us because you trust us to deliver the kind of solution you need.

We also understand how sensitive legal matters are and the consequences of not doing things right. We endeavor to stick to the requisite legal rules and guidelines when working with our clients.

We follow all the guidelines issued by the court and ensure that all statutory requirements are met before commencing with the petition for guardianship. In case you do not meet the criteria of becoming a guardian, we will always tell you so and if possible, we can advise you on the right individual to choose as a guardian.

We ensure that you get and file the right documents in court. We also help you to check the validity of any other documents that may be in your possession. This is what guarantees our clients that they will be served properly and that we will deliver the best outcomes based on their legal interests.

We Are Highly Professional

We approach each client’s assignment with a high level of professionalism. We do not issue any advice on a hunch and do not promise what we cannot deliver. We have been able to handle all the guardianship cases presented to us with most clients providing positive feedback about our services.

Our guardianship attorney Staten Island team comprises of the best guardianship professionals within the region. They have been taught how to handle each case from carrying out initial research to representing clients in court.

We do not handle any guardianship issue without proper consultation with the client, however small it may seem to be. We understand the need to probe our clients for relevant information before commencing with any legal work.

We take pride in meeting our clients and discussing their needs, no matter where they are. We do not interfere with your daily schedule and are always flexible to meet you at your convenient time and schedule.

We allow you to determine the number of appointments you wish to have with us. We do not restrict you from consulting our attorneys as long as whatever is being discussed is for the benefit of your case.

We Value Integrity and Honesty

Our practice has honesty and integrity as the primary building blocks. Over the years, we have served our clients using approaches that are both transparent and trustworthy.

Our legal services are not only competent, but they are also offered in a way that ensures we maintain a high level of respect for our clients. We aim at protecting the assets of our clients as the case progresses.

We do not hide any details of your guardianship from you. We always present this information to you in a simplified approach that is easy to understand and relate with.

You can always depend on us to offer you competitive prices for our services. We provide our clients with clear, fully detailed invoices to avoid any issues around billing in the future.

Our guardianship attorneys are great listeners. They are also kind-hearted and very understanding. We often take pride in developing lasting relationships with you and your families as we continually offer our legal services.

We are also analytical and knowledgeable. We not only offer you the best legal advice but also offer you the best recommendations based on your situation.

We Understand Your Schedule

Our facilities are always accessible to all our clients. Once you express a desire to work with us, we provide you with working contact details and encourage you to contact us at any time.

We believe that guardianship is one area of legal practice that we can do well and are always ready to apply the best approaches for the satisfaction of our clients.

Our attorneys are capable of handling key areas of guardianship. We also have a professional network of referrals should we encounter any issue that is beyond our scope of expertise although this has never happened before.

If you found yourself confused about your guardianship case, you can be sure to count on us for direction. We always provide you with several applicable options and give you the liberty to make the best choice. We do not impose any decisions on you because we understand that as our client, you are informed enough to make the best decisions for your loved ones.

We allow you to determine how much we should be involved in your case. Whether your guardianship situation needs full representation or just a little help, we are always happy to assist.

We Have Proven Success

In the digital age in which we live, it is always easy to find the right legal firm by simply surfing the internet. Individuals may make their choice based on the type of service offered, cost, and the reputation of the company.

Despite having so many reputed law firms within the region, we have continued to receive numerous clients either through referral or online search. Most of the people we have served keep recommending their friends and family to us.

This is a clear indication that we have been doing things right. Since the inception of our firm, we have received numerous positive reviews and the satisfaction rate has remained high each time.

By choosing to work with us, we are confident that you will not be disappointed and that our team of guardianship attorneys will deliver more than what you expect to receive from any other firm.

We Protect You from Liabilities

We have the guardianship procedure at our fingertips. We use this knowledge to streamline the process of handling the details associated with your case. It is common for the people involved in your case to make legal mistakes during proceedings.

When such happens, the court may hold these individuals or yourself responsible for the outcome of such mistakes. Processing the guardianship petition on your behalf saves you from making any unintentional errors that may be too costly.

Our team is properly trained and experienced in saving you from such occurrences. We have formalized relationships with various courts and are confident to represent you during guardianship hearings.

We are often dedicated to your wellbeing and seek to ensure that any advice you may have received before consulting us does not lead you astray. Our attorneys have always represented themselves as specialists, setting them apart as professionals who are committed to serving you with the highest standards of excellence.

Most potential guardians experience challenges with their case because they do not take time to understand the technical details involved. We always simplify any legal terms associated with your case to ensure that you get the meaning of each of them.

We also explain our technical solutions clearly to our clients so that they understand what we aim to achieve on their behalf. Before initiating the petition in court, we help you put the necessary documents together. If you are new to the legal system, we will take the time to walk you through the entire guardianship process as we highlight the issues that need to be addressed.

Our team of advisors can always resolve any pending legal issues after your case is closed. We are usually ready to support our clients in handling other legal matters that may arise beyond the guardianship case.

Top Tips when working with a guardianship lawyer

When you have gone through a process of selecting a suitable guardianship lawyer, the next step is ensuring you can work with them well. When you know how to work well with a guardianship lawyer, it ensures that they can better serve your interests. There are top tips that can help guide you in working with a guardianship lawyer.

Cooperate With Us

Establishment of guardianship and the processes that are involved often have certain timelines. This time has to be used to put together the necessary information and documents you have to help the lawyer with. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that you are valuable to them and can be of help in your case. Be willing to show up for the meetings and to engage with them constructively. Do not be unnecessarily controversial and argumentative or be the one who delves into issues that do not relate to the case.

Be Honest

Your guardianship lawyer does not know about you and the issues driving the case. They are supposed to be acting for you and advocating for your interests. They cannot be in the dark about your motives nor have secrets that could have adverse ramifications on the case.

You owe the guardianship lawyer in Stapleton the duty of making them see your thinking and understand what you want. Whatever your intentions are, they have to know for they are supposed to own them and drive them on your behalf.

Do not be irritated by the questions that the guardian lawyer asks, at times rephrasing the same question. It is part of the duly diligence they have to carry out to ensure they have all the facts of the case. Open up and offer information that is as specific and categorical as you can so that the guardian lawyer can gather what they need to get to work.

Show Up To Meetings with Some Valuable Information

Hiring a guardianship lawyer does not mean you resign and let them run the show. You have to be prepared and keep yourself brainstorming. Based on what the lawyer has been asking about, research and try to find something that you can always bring to the table to beef up facts.

Do not come to meetings as a formality or simply because the lawyer asked. Advocate for yourself to the lawyer for them to advocate for you in the guardianship case. Be the motor that propels things to progress than the lag that kills the impetus with a presence that has no value. Pay attention to the case at all times.

Respect the Guardian Lawyer’s Role

This is about expressing your confidence in their ability to deliver for you. Even as you participate in the process and facilitate them with valuable information and other assistance, know what you have to do and what you have to steer clear of. Do not hire one guardianship lawyer and still keep looking for another or seek advice elsewhere. The process of hiring the lawyer should have been rigorous enough for you to have settled on a suitable lawyer.

Only become doubtful when you are sure the guardianship lawyer is digressing and is not up to the task. It is all about recognizing the role and position of the lawyer and knowing how to support them.

Question and Inquire

The guardianship case process is also an educational opportunity. You should try to be informed about the process and let the guardianship lawyer understand that they have to keep you in the loop about every bit of the case. Be in the learning position and the guardianship lawyer in the educator role. Try to get a feeling of things progressing in ways that seem right according to the prior knowledge. This is by inquiring and questioning.

Document Everything

Keep a record of documents, receipts, and other material pertinent to the case you gather along the way. These maybe required later own and being organized may help the guardianship lawyer in case they miss something. Do not overly rely on the lawyer for even the things you can do for yourself. Being organized can help save time, avoid moments of anxiety, and build up your confidence.

Working with a guardianship lawyer requires you to be on top of things. Do not be resigned to laxity and complaisance. Be present to keep your interests insight. Be an aide and play your subordinate role well, which will push the lawyer to deliver the best out of themselves.

How we work:

Our usual process

Step 1 – Contact

Our work begins with your phone call during which we assess your situation and determine the area of expertise best designed to the specifics of your legal matter.

Step 2 – Review and Analysis

After the first phone interview your situation is further thoroughly examined by a team of our legal experts to find the optimal legal instruments applicable to your situation.

Step 3 – Additional Screening

To ensure the best possible outcome your situation undergoes an additional screening for all potential conflicts of interests. After the receipt of the clearance we reach out to you with our proposal.

Step 4– Work Ethics

We believe in open communication offering our clients constant updates and engaging them in the work process by encouraging them to share their feedback about their work experience with us.

Step 5 – Results

We are proud of delivering the results according to our agreement with our clients.

1. Communication with the client.

Every day, our experts are ready to advise you for free!

2. Problem analysis

After providing legal advice and analysis of your documents.

3. Performance of work

The work process of our company’s specialists is based on complete transparency and constant informing of the client.

4. Positive result

After the court has satisfied your claims

5. Your rating, our work

Then we deliver the specified documents to you at a convenient time for you

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but the process can be a bit tedious when doing it alone. It is highly recommended that a potential guardian works with a legal expert to guide them through the whole process. The guardianship process involves many legal duties including the signing of legal documents, and understanding one’s legal rights. An individual should not get into guardianship blindly, and that is where an attorney becomes helpful.  

If there is a chance that the guardianship is challenged or contested in court, then an attorney also is required for effective representation. They understand how the court works and will give you legal advice about the entire process.

The cost of hiring an attorney for guardianship services varies from one state to another and highly depends on their level of expertise in handling similar matters. Some will charge an affordable amount but then offer mediocre services. On the other hand, an attorney with a lot of experience is most likely going to charge higher.  

Some attorneys also charge per hour, while some give a general quote that covers the whole process. One needs to do a lot of due diligence before making the final decision on which attorney to work with.

In some cases, the local courts have attorneys to the disposal of the people for consultation at a small fee, which can be the easiest option to explore.

In most cases, the obvious happens; another guardian takes over the role of guardianship. However, this situation needs to be managed early enough so that it won’t be another long court process. Most states require that any new guardian appoints a successor within the first three months of them taking on the role.

A guardian must select one or more successors. These must be trustworthy individuals that can take over their role when they die. The proposed guardians are simply indicated on the application forms, and when one is deceased, the transition becomes easy for the person under guardianship.

No, because the court manages the guardianship process, and any major changes to this have to be through the courts. In most circumstances, the guardian will need to resign, so that the role can now be transferred to someone else. It is advisable to have a successor who is willing to take over the role in case one becomes incapable. With a successor, the transfer becomes easy and fast.

In some circumstances, if the guardian had not appointed a successor, then the court will have to go through the tedious process of getting a replacement. They have to do their due diligence before such an important role can be passed on to someone else. This ensures that the welfare of the person is safeguarded.

Keeping everything legal is what helps the process run smoothly and ensures that the transfer of responsibilities is adequately documented.

There are different reasons why one would want to change the guardianship they willingly signed up for. In most cases, the court will assess the situation first before approving the changes. Some reasons for the change of guardianship include:

  • When a guardian moves from one state to another, this will lead to two options. First, the guardian gets the court’s approval to move with the person to the new state, and sign a new petition in that state. Or second, the guardian transfers the responsibility of taking care of the ward to someone else within the same state. The reasoning for this is mostly in favor of minors, who have to stay within a state that has friends and family.
  • When a guardian becomes incapable of performing the role: If a guardian suddenly loses their job and can’t provide for a minor, for example, then there is justification for guardianship to be changed. Also, if other people notice that the guardian is not doing meeting their obligation of taking proper care of the ward, then they can sign a petition to have the guardianship changed.
  • If the guardian resigns: In some cases, the guardian voluntarily resigns from the role if they feel overwhelmed in one way of the other. The court takes over the case and appoints another person that is best suited for the role in their place.

Guardianship litigation can become tough when you don’t have the right legal counsel to help you.
Visit us to get the right information and guidelines so that you can get the best representation.