Long Island, New York Guardianship Attorneys

A guardian is an institution/individual appointed by the court to make personal needs and/or property management decisions for an incapacitated person – called a “ward”

What is a guardianship? What are guardianship proceedings?

A guardianship proceeding (previously referred to as conservatorship) seeks a Court determination as to whether the individual is “incapacitated,” meaning whether he or she is incapable of caring for financial and/or personal needs. If so, the Court appoints an appropriate person or institution to serve as guardian and to act on behalf of the individual. Guardianship can apply to adults who have suffered an accident, illness, or traumatic brain injury, individuals who are developmentally disabled and/or mentally retarded and the elderly.

What can I expect a guardianship hearing to cost?

You can expect a guardianship proceeding to cost thousands of dollars. This includes filing fees and attorney fees, the fee that the doctor may charge for evaluating the allegedly incapacitated person and completing an affidavit, fees of the Court Evaluator, a person appointed by the Court to investigate and advise it as to whether a guardian is required and who will be best suited to serve in that capacity, costs related to service of process and the preparation of the stenographic transcript and possible witness fees.

How long will a guardianship proceeding take?

It is not unusual for the entire proceeding to take months to complete. During this time, without an appropriate power of attorney and health care proxy, important financial or health care decisions may be delayed on behalf of the allegedly incapacitated person. During this time, no Medicaid planning can be implemented on his or her behalf. We have seen un-contested guardianships take as long as ten months to resolve because of court delays. However, in an appropriate case the court will entertain a request to appoint a temporary guardian, with specified or limited powers, during the pendency of the proceeding.


How can I avoid guardianship?

We strongly encourage all of our clients to have a power of attorney, health care proxy and living will. This not only guarantees the retention of control over these important decisions, but also allows for the expression of intentions that reduce family stress and dissension. Read the whole article about how to avoid guardianship.


What is contested guardianship?

The individual for whom a guardianship proceeding is commenced can contest the need for guardianship or the appointment of the individual who is seeking to become guardian. Also, other people who have an interest in the proceeding, such as the incapacitated individual’s spouse, children, siblings or parents, may disagree with the petition, the need for the appointment of the guardian or the appointment of a particular guardian.

Let us know how our guardianship attorneys can help you.
Call Us Now Berwitz & DiTata LLP at 516-328-2300