The firm of Kerley, Walsh, Matera & Cinquemani, P.C. has vast experience in Guardianship matters. Whether your loved one requires a guardian as a result of having a child with special needs, or a family member develops cognitive limitations after becoming an adult through age-related issues, or as a result of an accident or illness, our attorneys are available to commence the appropriate guardianship proceeding and assist you and your loved ones through the guardianship process.

Children or adults with special needs, in some cases, are unable to independently care for themselves without the assistance of others. Those children may require the appointment of a legal guardian when they reach the age of 18. Parents of special needs children are the natural guardians of their children until the age of 18, when the law considers everyone an adult. Parents of children with special needs, who are over the age of 18, may find themselves turned away from access to their child’s medical or school records, solely as a result of age, notwithstanding any knowledge of underlying special needs. These guardianships are typically handled in the Surrogate’s Court of the County in which the special needs individual resides.

Adult guardianships are individuals who develop cognitive and/or functional limitations later in life, either from the progression of age, or a more acute, traumatic event such as an accident or illness, which may require the appointment of a Guardian as well. These guardianships are handled primarily in the Supreme Court of the County in which the individual resides. Our attorneys have experience with all facets of these guardianships, governed by Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, and are very often appointed by the Court to serve in various capacities on behalf of, and to protect the rights of, individuals who are alleged to be incapacitated.

Additionally, when a minor child, or an individual who requires a guardian, inherits assets through an estate proceeding, or is the recipient of assets by other means, the Surrogate’s Court or Supreme Court of the County handling the estate proceeding, may require that a guardian be appointed to manage those inherited assets, generally, until the child turns 18.