Article 81 Adult Guardianship refers to the system where the court appoints a person to manage the personal needs and financial affairs of a person over 18. Usually this happens where mom or dad have a stroke, or develop Alzheimer’s or dementia or another impairment, and can no longer handle their personal or financial affairs. A Health Care Proxy and a Power of Attorney are usually all the family needs to take on these tasks for mom or dad, but sometimes they’re not enough. Sometimes a parent simply never completed a Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney, and now it’s too late.
Sometimes a parent did sign a Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney, but the children become at odds over who how the Agent is acting, or for other reasons. In that case, even though there is a Health Care Proxy and/or Power of Attorney, a child can apply to the court to review the situation and ensure the Agent is acting properly, or remove the Agent and appoint someone else as guardian.
In New York, Guardianship falls under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law. Not many lawyers are familiar with the procedures required by Article 81. Non-lawyers typically cannot handle Article 81 matters by themselves; it’s just too involved.
Here the website from the New York court system on Article 81 guardianships.
You’ll note the website has the following paragraph:
“An Article 81 Guardianship is very individualized and specific to what decisions are made by the guardian and what decisions are made by the person with the disability. The Judge will appoint a court evaluator. As the eyes and ears of the Court, the court evaluator will meet with the possible incapacitated individual, investigate and report whether or not a guardian should be appointed and, if so, what powers the guardian should have. The Court will always hold a hearing.”