An Experienced New York Estate Planning Attorney Explains 3 Types of Guardianships

Serving Families Throughout Melville

A family member could be unable to care for their young children, aging parents, or a special needs adult child or sibling. In these situations, a guardianship can help someone else manage care for those individuals (known as wards), whether the person in question wants the court to name a guardian or petition for guardianship themselves.

Read on as an experienced guardianship attorney with Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, describes three types of guardianships available in New York, the Court’s process of appointing a guardian, and the alternatives to guardianship. Contact us at (631) 519-9831 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation to discuss guardianship options for your loved one.

Guardianship of a Minor

Guardianship allows the appointed guardian to make decisions for a child until they come of age. Decisions a guardian can make include healthcare, education, finances, living arrangements, and more.

Someone petitioning a court for guardianship of a child must file the petition with the court.

The courts appoint a guardian for a child, and the guardian makes decisions for the child. Speak with a guardianship attorney to determine how to plan for guardianship of minor children.

Guardianship of an Incapacitated Adult

Also called an Article 81 Guardianship, appointing a guardian of an incapacitated person is a complex legal process. A petitioner must file a request for the appointment of a guardian with the court and prove the necessity of a guardian for the individual.

Incapacity includes:

  • An inability to care for their personal needs or property
  • A likeliness to suffer injury or harm or an inability to understand the consequences of their inability to care for themselves or their property

The court will decide if the person is wholly or partly incapacitated and whether they need guardianship. The person the court considers for guardianship—usually a family member—will need to complete Article 81 guardian training before the court appoints them.

The court will hear testimony and review evidence about the incapacity to decide if a person needs guardianship. If the court determines that the incapacitated person requires a guardian, the judge will outline the decisions the guardian will need to make according to the needs of the person.

With Article 81 guardianship, the court will appoint a guardian to manage the personal needs regarding their personal life and/or a guardian of their property and financial needs. Because each case is unique and people under guardianship may have different levels of decision-making ability, the court can be flexible in choosing to appoint an appropriate guardian to handle only the decisions they are well-equipped to address.

Guardian of the Person

A guardian of the person makes personal needs decisions for a minor, incapacitated person, or intellectually or developmentally disabled adult. These guardians’ decisions for their wards include:

  • Healthcare, including diagnosis, treatments, surgery, and medication
  • Living arrangements for the person under guardianship
  • Applying for government, life insurance, or other benefits on behalf of the person under guardianship

Guardians of the person can also access personal records of the person under guardianship to make informed decisions for care. However, they may not make financial decisions unless they are also the appointed guardian of the property.

Guardian of the Property

A guardian of the property manages finances and property in the name of the person under guardianship, and they must file an annual report about the property.

Some responsibilities include:

  • Paying bills for the person
  • Organizing assets and investments
  • Signing checks and contracts


Guardianship of an intellectually or developmentally disabled adult, who has been disabled since birth, Article 17-A guardianship, allows a caregiver to make decisions for adults with certain conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Down syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy

Article 17-A guardianships allow the appointed guardian to make decisions for the child into adulthood. Contact a New York guardianship lawyer to discuss alternatives to guardianship, such as powers of attorney, health care proxy, and related questions.

Contact an Experienced Guardianship Attorney on Long Island in New York

Guardianship is a complex legal issue that requires the attention of an experienced guardianship attorney. At Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, we have years of experience assisting families in and around Melville, NY, with estate planning and guardianship needs. Call us today at (631) 519-9831 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation.

Copyright © 2022. SCHNEIDER, GARRASTEGUI & FEDELE PLLC. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

135 Pinelawn Rd #250s
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 519-9831

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