In the state of New York, the age of majority is 18. This means that a parent’s authority to make decisions for a child legally ends on the child’s 18th birthday, regardless of cognitive disability. Often parents or other family members will seek legal guardianship to safeguard a loved one.

We help parents and other advocates obtain legal authority to maintain their advocacy in the areas of health care and financial management, either through guardianship or through the use of various advance directives.

Our attorneys help advocates determine the best course of action for their individual circumstances. We will discuss the use of one of New York State’s two guardianship proceedings as well as the alternatives to guardianships and tailor recommendations based on the client’s family situation and ongoing needs.

In addition to assisting families and advocates in petitioning for guardianship we:

  • Consult with guardians who have already been appointed by a New York State court in order to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations;
  • Prepare and review annual reports as required by court order, making recommendations on financial transactions and preparing court petitions for expenditures, and clarifying the authority of the guardian to act in any situation; and
  • Establish supplemental needs trusts from guardianship funds in order to maintain or establish eligibility for means-tested government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. As part of our representation, we will clarify the differences in the multiple fiduciary roles a family member may undertake on their loved one’s behalf.