Do you have a member of your family who is unable to handle his/her own finances or make medical decisions? Whether you have an elderly parent suffering from dementia or a mentally disabled child who is turning 18, guardianship can give you peace of mind to ensure you that your loved one's needs will be met.
I have extensive experience in this area as a court-appointed attorney for alleged incapacitated persons, as well as in representing clients petitioning for guardianship.
After a petition for guardianship is filed, the court will appoint an independent attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person.
That attorney will review the petition for guardianship and medical reports, and will meet with the alleged incapacitated person and the petitioner.
The court-appointed attorney will then provide a report to the judge with his/her recommendations.
The judge will rely on that report when deciding if the alleged incapacitated person needs a guardian, and if the petitioner should be appointed as guardian.
Most of these cases are uncontested, as usually there is no dispute as to the capacity of the individual involved. However, in some cases, there is a dispute over who should be appointed as guardian.
In other cases, there are complex financial issues involved.
Upon appointment as guardian, the petitioner must meet with the county surrogate to complete the appropriate paperwork.
Guardians must submit an annual report updating the court as to the health and financial affairs of the adjudicated incapacitated person, called a "ward."
A guardian is not required to personally provide care for the ward, or to spend his or her own funds on behalf of the ward.
A guardian is required to provide the most appropriate care for the ward, and handle the ward's financial affairs.
A great deal of paperwork is required in these matters. Along with the petition for guardianship, a petitioner must provide a statement of assets of the incapacitated person, plus 2 certifications from physicians who have examined the alleged incapacitated person.
For these reasons, it is difficult for a petitioner to represent himself or herself in this type of litigation. I offer reasonable hourly rates.
Guardianship matters are unique because legal fees are set by the court. Upon completion of work on a case, the attorneys for both the petitioner and alleged incapacitated person must submit a certification of services to the court.
The judge reviews the attorney certifications to determine if the proposed fees are reasonable.
At that point, the judge will determine the amount of the attorney fees and specify those fees in the order of guardianship.
Upon appointment, the guardian may pay those fees out of the assets of the alleged incapacitated person. A guardian need not pay the legal fees of the ward out of the guardian's own funds unless court ordered to do so.
No single detail is left out
Call Arthur David Malkin, Esq. for a FREE consultation in Parsippany.