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Home > Estate Administration > Guardianship

New York Guardianship Lawyer

A guardian is a person or child protective agency given legal authority to take responsibility for the care of a child. At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, our New York guardianship lawyer helps individuals obtain and contest guardianships, in addition to helping parents set up future guardianships as an aspect of estate planning. Keep reading for more information about guardianships in New York.

Becoming a Legal Guardian in New York

A court-appointed guardian has the legal right to act on behalf of a child whose parents are deceased or missing, or otherwise unable to provide appropriate care for the child. Under New York law, an adult relative, family friend, child protective agency, or the child him/herself (if over the age of 14) can petition a court to be appointed or to appoint a guardian or standby guardian. There are two different types of guardianship arrangements depending on a child’s needs:

  1. Guardianship of the Person – Guardianship of the person allows the guardian to make all daily decisions concerning the child, such as where the child will live, go to school, or obtain medical care.
  2. Guardianship of the Property – Guardianship of the property allows the guardian to make decisions about the child’s property (e.g. an inheritance or settlement amount) and other financial decisions.

A guardianship can be of both the person and the property, so that one guardian can make decisions regarding the child’s personal needs and financial interests.

Guardianship vs. Legal Custody

Guardianship and legal custody are similar because both are ordered by a court and both give the caregiver the legal right to make decisions for a child. There are some differences, however, which are important to consider. Generally, guardians can make medical decisions on behalf of a child, while legal custodians don’t always have that authority. Likewise, a child can be added to his or her guardian’s medical insurance plan, but with legal custody that’s usually not the case.

With a guardianship, a child’s parents are still legally responsible for the financial support of their child. This means that some type of support arrangement may be set up by the court, and in some cases a visitation schedule for the parents can also be arranged.

Contact Us for Help with Guardianships

If you need to seek, establish, or contest guardianship in New York, please contact Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP to schedule a consultation. With offices in Kingston & Marlboro, our New York guardianship lawyer represents clients throughout the Hudson Valley.

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