If you have a child or other family member who has disabilities and is unable to make decisions for themselves, you can be appointed their guardian. It’s one way of ensuring your loved one’s rights are protected and their needs are met.
Aquino-Melendez discusses two types of guardianships:
Article 81 Guardianship
This type of guardianship designates someone to be guardian of a person, guardian of their property, or both. It’s often applied to elderly people with health conditions such as cognitive decline from Alzheimer’s disease, leaving them unable to manage their own affairs.
Article 17A Guardianship
This is special kind of guardianship available in New York State, letting you remain the guardian of an adult child after they reach 18. To qualify, your child must have developmental or intellectual disabilities.
You don’t necessarily have to get a lawyer to file for guardianship. But the process involves filling out lengthy forms, submitting statements from medical providers and appearing in court. If you have a lawyer, they can take care of the details for you.
In the video, Aquino-Melendez also discusses other arrangements besides guardianships, such as “supported decision making.” In this process, a person with special needs who has the capacity to make some decisions on their own behalf gets help from a team of people.
People fully able to make personal decisions can create “advance directives,” such as living wills to guide decisions about life support, or power of attorney to designate an agent who will act on your behalf if needed.
For more on guardianships and special needs planning from the Cuddy Law Firm, watch the full video.