A guardian is an adult representative who makes financial, legal and medical decisions on behalf of another person who has some level of diminished capacity and can no longer manage his or her affairs on his/her own.
In order to become a guardian on behalf of someone else, an individual must bring a petition under the Mental Hygiene Law; Article 81 indicating why the person who needs assistance to manage his/her affairs is alleged to be incapacitated (AIP) and needs to have someone to help him/her make decisions based on their functional limitations. The decisions to be made by the guardian may include financial, personal, or healthcare related decisions.
Each guardianship proceeding is tailored to the individual needs and limitations of the AIP, which is why is it important to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in this area in order to find a solution that works best for your family.
Being appointed guardian for a loved one can be a time-consuming and expensive process, involving court proceedings and legal fees. Whenever possible, the best way to avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding is to appoint representative(s), while you are competent, who can make personal, medical and financial decision on your behalf in the event that you are no longer able to do so.