There are a number of situations in which the commencement of a guardianship proceeding may be helpful, or even necessary. In most instances, obtaining guardianship over an individual and/or their property arises in the context of special needs planning for parents of a special needs “child” who is approaching or over the age of 18 years. Other circumstances that may compel the family or friends of an individual to consider legal guardianship as an option include situations where a person may have a serious drug/alcohol abuse problem, conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or where a person is in a persistent comatose state as the result of an accident or illness.
Guardianship, in New York, can be put into three general categories: (1) Guardianship over property; (2) Guardianship over a person; and (3) Guardianship over a person and their property. Due to the fact that the appointment of a guardian not only gives an individual the legal authority to act on behalf of another's person or property, but actually removes the legal rights of the ward regarding their property and personal decisions, the appointment of a guardian should only be considered under compelling circumstances.