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Guardianship Lawyer Staten Island: Who Will Take Care of Your Kids When You Die?

Facts: Less than 49 percent of families haven’t identified a guardian for their child.

We are experienced and provide effective solutions of child and elder guardianship claims in the state. We have knowledgeable lawyers that have expertise in matters guardianship law, including but not limited to incompetent and mental disability claims in the county. As a client, you have the confidence in knowing that the case is being handled by someone that is experienced.

When it comes to New York guardianship law, you need a guardianship lawyer Staten Island team that understands the different clauses that dictate what happens, specifically Article 81 and Article 17-A.

One essential value that individuals of all ages hold is the ability to become independent. Unfortunately, there are individuals whose individual independence remains limited even after attaining adulthood.

For such individuals, a guardian must be appointed to ensure that they continue to receive the best care needed. In New York, various basic forms of guardianship apply.

One most common is Article 81 Guardianship which is appropriate for individuals who were once self-dependent but experienced situations that caused functional and cognitive limitations. Such people are no longer able to meet their day to day responsibilities as required.

The second one is Article 17A guardianship that is appropriate for parents with special needs children. Once your child experiences developmental or intellectual disability either at birth or during their upbringing, you will need to continue making decisions on their behalf even after they attain adulthood.

To continue making any decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual, you will need to obtain legal rights from the relevant court. If you wish to become an Article 81 guardian for your loved one, you will need to initiate a petition in the Supreme Court. For being a 17A guardian, you will also need to file the requisite petition in the Surrogate’s court within your location.

After being appointed as a guardian using any of the two laws mentioned above, you will be able to make vast decisions on behalf of the ward, based on the powers bestowed on you by the court.

You can make a wide range of financial decisions ranging from investing the person’s assets, protecting these assets, and using them to generate income for the ward’s needs.

If you are an Article 81 guardian, you may also gift part of the ward’s assets to their loved ones as you deem appropriate.

One of the most difficult decisions that a parent of younger children in Tottenville has to make when drafting a will is deciding who is to be appointed as a guardian of the little kids. Whenever you decide to draft a will, it is vital that you include a clause that directs the court on who takes over as the guardian.

Including a guardianship clause in the will is ideal when you have kids that are under the age of 18 years old.

Appointing a guardian is important due to the increase in the number of extended and blended families. The issue can be very sensitive and needs a lot of careful consideration.

Having kids adds a new dimension to the estate planning process. We have seen circumstances where both parents are dead and they failed to come up with a plan, and the child has to be placed in a foster home. This is usually disruptive for many kids, even when the new family is made of relatives. Parents can avoid this issue if they choose a guardian for the will.

What is a Legal Guardianship

A guardian refers to a person that is responsible for the welfare of another person. The welfare in this case means personal as well as the financial welfare. Legal guardianship of adults comes for the courts, because it is a legally binding agreement. The court looks at the different aspects that make the ward become a candidate for guardianship, then appoint the right guardian for him or her.

There are 4 Types of Legal Guardianships

When you decide to be a guardian, you have to know the different types of guardianships that exist. These included:

Permanent Guardianship

This is when the person is given a permanent responsibility over the adult. This is usually ideal when both the parents have died and there is no one to look after the person.

Limited Guardianship

Here, the person in need of the guardianship doesn’t require extensive supervision. This means your powers as a guardian are limited to the needs of the person. You are only allowed to make decisions that the ward cannot make on themselves. These powers are mentioned in the order that the court comes up with.

Guardian of the Estate

This is a type of limited guardianship that gives the guardian responsibility over the financial aspect. The aim is to preserve and manage the assets in the interest of the individual.

Guardian of the Person

This is also a limited guardianship that gives the guardian the authority over the non-financial aspect of the individual. These include comfort, education, healthcare and other personal matters.

Ten Issues to Consider when Choosing a Guardian for a Child

There are a few aspects you need to look at when you choose a guardian for the child. These include:

Understand the Different Roles the Guardians Play

When choosing a guardian, you need to understand that there are two types of guardians – guardians of the person and guardians of the estate. Guardians of the person will manage the day to day living of the child, while those of the estate manage the assets that are owned by the child.

You can decide to have different guardians for this role or choose to have just one guardian to play all the roles. Make sure you choose a person who has the capacity to perform these roles.

Just the way you can choose more than one person to be guardians of the person and the estate, you also have the capacity to choose more than one type of guardian if you have more than one kid. Handling more than one child can be taunting for one guardian, which is just right that you pick several guardians that can handle the task properly.

Many people don’t want to separate the kids when it comes to choosing guardians. This is why they opt to have a single guardian watch over several kids at the same time.

Match the Attributes

When choosing the right guardians for your child, you need to understand the two types of guardianships. Try and match the people with the skills that suit the different roles. Don’t just look at the skills that the person possesses; rather consider the behavior of the person as well.

Understand Shared Values

Work with someone that shares your values, goals and the parenting style. This works whether you are choosing a guardian of the estate or of the child as a person. You might choose a person that doesn’t possess the capacity to make financial decisions, but as long as they share in your childrearing philosophy, you can allow them to take care of the kids.


Pick a person that is young enough to handle the responsibilities of the kids till they become adults. The person needs to have the strength to withstand the childrearing challenges. This is why you need to consider the health of status of the person before you make the choice. It would not be wise for you to choose a person that won’t be there a few years down the line.

You might be tempted to choose your parents to be guardians, but are you sure they will see the kids through to adulthood? It could be a better decision to choose someone your age or younger to see this through.

Make Independent Decisions

At times you find yourself being influenced by other people when making a decision. Unless the person that tries to help you is closely and directly related to you, the decision belongs to you alone.

However, you need to make sure that you choose a person that the court will corroborate as the best person. For instance, even if your brother is one of the best choices yet he has a criminal record or he has a history of drug abuse, you shouldn’t put a lot of emphasis on him.

Know Your Financial Ability

You don’t want your kids to suffer, and if you have been able to provide for them, then you need someone that can pick up from the point you left off. This is why you need to choose someone that has the financial resources to take care of your kids when you cannot do it. Remember that it takes a lot of financial resources to take care of the kids, and you don’t want to put these burdens on someone that doesn’t have the financial muscle to handle them.

Talk it Over

While the guardian selection stops with you, it is also vital that you consult the proposed guardian before you make the final decision. You might have the perfect choice, but if the person doesn’t want to act as a guardian, then you don’t have a choice but to look for someone else. It is better to understand this earlier on so that you have another chance at making the right choice.

Another person you need to talk to is a guardianship lawyer. As lawyers, we have seen so many situations that would have been better if consultation would have been made. Many people only consult us when they have litigation or a contest. Even before you start the guardianship process, take time to talk to us so that you can get a few directives on how to make the process faster and easier.

Get it in Writing

Once you have a final decision, consult us to draft for you the necessary documents so that your choice is legally binding and official. We can use your will, trusts and other documents to implement the decisions you have made.

Our role at this moment is to advice you on the proper procedure going forward, prepare the documents and then file the necessary documents.

Make No Mistake

When you don’t specify a legal guardian for the kid in your will, you are leaving a very sensitive and vital decision in the hands of strangers. If your spouse is still alive, then you need to talk to them about the process, and include her name in your ill, and include the deliberation in both the wills to avoid any issues later on.

Additionally, make sure to name an alternative guardian should the original person be unable to take on the responsibility.

Provide for Each Child

So, how many kids do you have under the age of 18 years old? Make sure all the kids are provided for separately in the will. This might sound obvious, and we have seen many people make this mistake, but don’t name just a single kid and then assume that the court will grand custody of all the kids to the named guardian.

Determine Where the Kids will Live

Where would you like the kids to live when you are gone? Do you want them to live together or won’t you mind if they are separated? Make sure that you specify this fact in your will. This is ideal so that when the primary guardian doesn’t serve, the court will make sure that the alternate guardian will still take the kids as planned.

The Need for Co-guardians

If you prefer to have your kids raised by more than one guardian, then be sure that you name the people that you want to do this for you. For instance, you can choose to have your brother and his wife to be the guardians. Make sure you point this out in your will clearly.

Where Does the Guardian Live?

Are the guardians in the same town as you? Are they a few tons over or in another state? The location of the guardians matter a lot, because it will determine how far other members of the family are. You have to understand whether the kids have to move to a new location, which might be stressful to you.

Location also determines whether the kids have to change schools. Many parents prefer that their kids remain in the same school or in the same school district.

Things a caregiver needs to know about guardianship

Caregivers are usually named in circumstances where the person or people a child stays with are not their parents. They can also be named to help make decisions on the most befitting and effective social services a child should receive. This includes both medical care and decisions on matters of a child’s education.

A guardian can also be appointed on similar grounds. The difference is that while a caregiver can make decisions alongside the child’s parent, a guardianship bestows decision-making powers, based on the type of guardianship, to the guardian and guardian alone. The parent does not take part in making decisions. Here are the things that are important for a caregiver to know about guardianship;

Understand Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal process that seeks to appoint someone and bestow them with the powers of making decisions on behalf of someone who, for reasons of health or incapacity, cannot make them by themselves. The caregiver is also assessed to determine their ability to manage the life of the incapacitated person. In a guardianship, the person for whom the court appoints a guardian is referred to as a ward.

Know Guardianship Responsibilities

Ensuring the making of sound decisions concerning the care that befits the needs of the ward. This may be medical and educations decisions or financial decisions or both. Guardianship aims to ensure that decisions are made for the ward focusing on having him return to full autonomy speedily.

Who Can Become A Guardian?

When one becomes incapacitated or comatose, any interested party can petition the court to appoint them as their guardian. This includes a caregiver, relative, friend, or anyone concerned about the welfare of an incapacitated person.

What If the Care-Receiver Does Not Approve Of the Guardianship Petition

The caregiver should seek the services of a guardianship attorney immediately. The court conducts hearings and only decides on the guardian upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence showing the alleged ward’s state. The court must be convinced by presenting appropriate evidence that the alleged ward is indeed incapacitated and requires to be placed under the protection of a guardian that can act and advocate for the welfare of the ward.

Know the Care-Receiver Rights in a Guardianship Petition

The care-receivers are allowed to contest a guardianship petition that seeks to appoint someone to take over decision-making duties on their behalf. One can contest guardianship at three levels. One can contest the entire guardianship petition or object to certain powers sought to be given to a guardian or contest against the appointment to serve as a guardian, a particular person.

The care-receiver is legally allowed to have the hearings conducted in their presence and have a guardianship attorney represent them. The care-receiver can also table in court evidence supporting their own case and has a right to have witnesses cross-examined by him. This is besides the right to a jury trial.

Not All Guardians Have the Same Powers

The court requires that evidence be presented in court to determine the exact state of the alleged ward and their type of incapacity. This will be used in finding out the kind of needs to which powers to be granted to a guardian have to be tailored. The court will have the ward retain certain powers or grant all the powers to a guardian depending on the ward’s needs.

It Is Possible To Replace a Legal Guardian

Yes. This is possible through a motion initiated by the caregiver or any other parties concerned about the welfare of the ward. The motion petitions the court by reasons of the serving guardian’s ineffectiveness or otherwise, to have the guardian removed or changed.

The Tenure of Guardianship

Guardianship often lasts until the death of the ward. However, the court reviewed the guardianship to assess improvement in the state of the ward and possible review of powers or termination of guardianship altogether. A guardian’s powers can also be extended if medical examination based on the documents presented to the court show worsening of the ward’s condition.

A guardian is liable for the decisions they make on behalf of the ward following the establishment of guardianship. The guardian is also required to account for the monetary assets of the ward to court for approval. Certain decisions regarding the health and management of assets of the ward are subject to court approval.

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


Marianna Schwartsman

Why Choose to Work with Us

If you have been involved in estate administration cases before, guardianship is one term that may be quite familiar to you. Unfortunately, most people who are involved in guardianship are new to the process and do not understand what they should do to get appointed as guardians by the court.

We are a guardianship lawyer Staten Island team that has all you need to make things work out for you.

Some of these individuals always rush to get their guardianship situation handled without first taking time to understand the requirements. Eventually, they end up losing the opportunity of becoming the decision-maker on behalf of their loved ones.

Sitting down with us to discuss your issue ensures that you do not make rash decisions. Throughout our discussions, we focus on giving you the right knowledge and guidance to help you wade through guardianship procedures more quickly.

Our practice is known for working with smart guardianship attorneys who can take care of your pressing needs more effectively. Being our client ensures that you leave our office relieved and assured that all your legal problems will be well taken care of.

We aim to accomplish your legal mission. You may be wondering if there is anything we can offer you that is different from other legal firms. There are several unique advantages of working with us namely:

We Help You Make Crucial Decisions

Guardianship involves several processes that require you to make critical decisions. The kind of decisions you make determines the success of your case. If you decide to make misinformed choices, you may end up not being appointed as your loved one’s guardian.

At our practice, we dedicate our time to guide you through decision making. We understand the nasty consequences associated with bad decisions and would not want to mislead you in any way.

We believe that by the time you decide to consult us, you may have realized that the ward can no longer make certain decisions for themselves. We provide you with the best information to guide you in making sound legal decisions on their behalf.

Once you are appointed as a guardian by the court, you will be answerable for each decision you make on behalf of the ward. Making wrong choices can lead you into trouble and the court may decide to withdraw the guardianship.

With our guidance, you can be confident about the kind of actions you take on behalf of the ward. We assist you to plan and put your preferences ahead of our own financial interests.

We Handle All Forms of Guardianship

Guardianship is only possible where a ward is legally unable to make personal decisions. In case your loved one needs a guardian, the court will always appoint one from their family, close friends, or a professional organization.

The court allows individuals to express their wishes when it comes to appointing a guardian for their loved ones. Our practice has professionals that are experienced in assisting clients with several types of guardianship including cases that involve minors, elderly people, and those that are developmentally disabled.

We also provide legal defense against guardianship where the ward is handled inappropriately. There are cases where individuals attempt to become guardians for their interests. Such individuals always undermine the interests of the incapacitated individual. In such circumstances, we help you create and present to the court the necessary documents to contest guardianship of your loved one.

We also represent you in ongoing guardianship proceedings. During such procedures, we assist you in creating financial reports and ensure that you comply with all the statutory requirements of becoming a guardian.

We Offer Reliable Help

When a loved one loses the capability of making decisions by themselves but do not have a power of attorney, the court will always be responsible for appointing a guardian to oversee their affairs.

In most cases, power is often given to a spouse, child, sibling, or third-party professional. In case these do not exist, any person with the interest of taking care of the incapacitated person will be appointed as a guardian.

Sometimes, disagreements may arise between family members when trying to establish the best person to act as a guardian. These disagreements may arise due to long-standing divisions between family members.

We help you resolve these cases outside court. Our attorneys are experienced at mediating between family members in such circumstances. If you are struggling with such an issue, feel free to consult us for assistance.

We are good at resolving disputes while protecting the interest of your loved one.

We Are Professionals at What We Do

If you are seeking to become a guardian or conservator for your incapacitated relative or if an existing guardian is not taking proper care of your loved one, you need to get a trusted attorney to represent you.

Our practice can guide you through this difficult procedure and ensure that you receive the legal rights to take care of your loved one. We are professionals when it comes to protecting the rights of incapacitated individuals.

Although we provide several legal services, we do not consider ourselves as general practitioners. We are always thrilled to spend most of our time handling guardianship matters.

When you do the same thing all the time, you get to learn the tips and tricks required to achieve the best outcome. By handling numerous guardianship cases over and over again, we have mastered the art of delivering positive results for all our clients.

We have concentrated our practice on guardianship for many years. Our attorneys have a wealth of knowledge and information they can share with you about how to handle legal and non-legal issues associated with guardianship.

We make the experience enjoyable and interesting for all our clients. Although we have dealt with a host of guardianship issues in the past, we still give your case the seriousness it deserves.

We Pride in Teaching our Clients

We believe that it is essential that our clients understand the reason for our recommendations. We also think they should know the important elements of the legal documents we present to them.

We do not allow you to sign any documents without understanding why this is necessary. We want you to leave our office satisfied with our services and representation.

We organize various teaching sessions where we provide you with the necessary legal information and answer any questions you may have.

We provide you with a glossary of relevant legal terms and help you understand them. We also give you several examples against these terms to make them more understandable.

We take you through an analysis of some of the most misused guardianship phrases to ensure that you do not get misinformed.

We Are Innovative

We make extensive use of available legal systems and technologies to come up with innovative solutions for our clients. Our goal is in utilizing the best approaches to deliver results. Unlike other practices, we do not present you with complex legal documents to read. We make things simpler by presenting you with step-by-step plans.

We also make use of innovative billing systems that are trusted by most of our clients. We have become popular because of our flexible payment options as well.

During our many years of practice, we have mastered the art of appreciating the many wonderful people that we meet. We enjoy assisting them to address their goals and concerns. Our ability to interact with people of all kinds has helped make our practice more fulfilling.

We go the extra mile to offer you more specific insights about your guardianship situation. We always highlight any legal issues that you may have forgotten to address and ensure that we come up with innovative solutions to these issues.

We Get It Right the First Time

When warranted, we draft all the paperwork for you, including the most complex ones. With our years of experience, we have all the guidelines required to get the right requirements in place the first time.

We enjoy sourcing for relevant information on behalf of our clients. We assess all our strategies to determine what works for you. One of the biggest benefits of working with us is that we save time.

You can always be sure that the documents we prepare for you will always be acceptable to the probate court. Should you need to revise any of your prior paperwork, we can do this for you without wasting any time.

We Handle All Your Concerns

Several issues will always arise during guardianship proceedings. We assist you to overcome the challenges associated with your situation. We also respond to any legal concerns you may have about your issue.

We are always available during consultations and do not take you through unnecessary procedures before attending to your needs. We are famous for providing clients with the best legal guidance.

We know that going through guardianship can be an uphill task if you do not have the right people to consult. We make you understand the benefits of guardianship proceedings and remain on standby should you need more clarification.

We work tirelessly to ensure that your loved one does not end up in the wrong hands.

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

In a guardianship, an adult is assigned parental care for a child, whether they are related or not. The process is carried out in a probate court. The biological parent has to give consent before a guardian is appointed for their child. In most cases, the appointee must be well known to the ward’s family.

Full guardianship is only arranged in circumstances where a child’s biological parent is not of sound mind; hence, cannot make decisions by themselves.

Otherwise, the guardian does not have full rights over the child. The parents can still visit, provide financial support and even make some legal decisions on behalf of the child. Guardianship can always be terminated, unless under special circumstances where the guardian applies for permanent guardianship.

This means a child is assigned a special guardian without necessarily seeking the biological parents’ consent. The guardianship can be long-term, depending on the investigations of the court.

The child can still maintain their links with the biological parents, but they will have very little control over what or how they lead their day-to-day lives. Most of their needs will be met by the special guardian, who now acts as the parent to the child.

A special guardian stays with the child as long as it is necessary and is obligated to treat them as their own because, in most cases, the real parents cannot take care of the child. The guardian then makes all the important decisions on behalf of the child, as long as it is for their good.

Yes, you can. Adoption makes you the new parent to that child, and in some cases, the child can come with assets or inheritance from their previous family. You can decide to be the guardian to help them manage their assets. Parents are always advised to have guardianship in such situations to have manageable control over their child’s assets.

Guardianship is much regulated, so one is assured of everything being done in favor of the child’s well-being. There are some decisions that a parent can make that a guardian cannot, and vice versa. As a guardian, you can always appoint a successor for your adopted child to make sure that you have safeguarded their future.

Yes, but it depends on the nature of your disability and your ability to take care of the child. If your disability impacts your day to day activities, then it is recommended that you get joint guardianship. With this in place, you can take care of the minor through someone else.

Guardianship is open to anyone, as long as they can meet the criteria below:

  • They are of sound mind: Because a guardian makes important life decisions on behalf of the minor, they have to be sober enough to do so. If the disability is not mental, then you should qualify to be a guardian.
  • You need to have an established relationship with the child and are on good terms with the parents. That is why most guardians tend to be relatives of the child, as they would have spent enough time with them.
  • You have to be of the right age: be at least 18 years and above, and capable of taking care of the child.
  • You must be authorized by the court:The court does a thorough investigation before approving guardianship.

Sometimes, guardianship comes with many complications, especially with relatives who might choose to contest the application.

There are other options one can explore:

  • Adoption: With adoption, the child is placed with you permanently. You take full responsibility as you would with your child. This is long term, and as much as it also comes with some challenges, once the process is done, things become easier.
  • Foster-care: You can be a foster parent. Children will be placed under your care now and then, as they look for permanent homes. The only negative thing about this is that some people get emotionally attached to the relationship, and it becomes hard to let go. The child will also not feel like they belong at any of the foster homes.

When things get stuck, or if you realize you need legal assistance for your guardianship process, you need to talk to the right lawyer. Call us today to begin the process of becoming a legal guardian in Staten Island.