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Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal arrangement where a court gives a person or organization the legal right to make decisions for another person who is unable to make all or only certain decisions for themselves. There are many reasons a person may be unable to make decisions for themselves. For example, if they are a child, an intellectually or developmentally disabled adult, or legally determined to be incapacitated.

It is important that the person seeking guardianship (the petitioner) carefully consider the needs of the person believed to need a guardian and seek guardianship solely based on those needs. The petitioner should also explore alternatives to guardianship that may address any presenting concerns while also allowing the person to make decisions themselves, when possible.

For more information on Guardianships, see:

Guardianship Case
Depending on the type of guardianship asked for and the person over whom guardianship is requested, the case can be heard in Supreme Court, County Court, Family Court, or Surrogate's Court. Learn more about where to file a guardianship case.

Guardianship of a Child
In New York State a person is considered a child if they are 20 years old or younger, not married and not in the military service. Learn more about Guardianship of a Child and which court to file this type of case.

Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person
An incapacitated person is someone who is unable to care for their own property and/or personal needs and likely to suffer harm because they cannot understand the consequences of their inability to do so. Learn more about Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person (Article 81 Guardianship), how these guardianships can be tailored to meet the incapacitated person’s needs, and which court to file this type of case.

Guardianship of an Intellectually or Developmentally Disabled Adult
In New York State, when a person turns 18 years old, they are assumed to be legally able to make decisions for themselves. If a person is intellectually or developmentally disabled, however, they may need a guardian to help them make limited or all decisions. Learn more about Guardianship of an Intellectually or Developmentally Disabled Adult (Article 17-A Guardianship) and where to file this type of case.

Help & Resources for Guardians
Find help and resources if you are already a guardian or would like to become a guardian.

 

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