If you have a loved one with special needs, they may require someone to care for them and manage their personal affairs for their entire lives. If that is the case, a special needs guardianship may be exactly what you need. But what is a special needs guardianship, and how can it help you to ensure your loved one is cared for?

What is a Special Needs Guardianship?

In simple terms, a special needs guardianship is a type of legal relationship established by a court to watch over someone with a severe physical, psychological, or developmental disability. The court will appoint someone (known as a guardian) to care for the disabled person (known as a ward) and ensure their interests are protected. In the interests of fulfilling that goal, the guardian is given the authority to make legal, financial, and medical decisions on behalf of their ward, to make sure all of their needs are taken care of.

How Does a Special Needs Guardianship Help?

This type of guardianship can help to care for a person with special needs by ensuring there is always someone there to watch over them. While most people eventually achieve enough independence to handle their own personal affairs, people with special needs may require help for their entire lives. A guardianship will ensure there is always someone there to watch over them and care for them when they need it.

When is a Special Needs Guardianship Appropriate?

You should consider a special needs guardianship if someone you love has a serious physical, psychological, or developmental disability that impairs their ability to function independently. For example, it is often used to help care for people with cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, neurological impairments, or traumatic brain injuries. As a general rule, if someone has a condition that would make it difficult for them to live independently or to make their own decisions, a guardianship may be warranted.

How Can You Get a Special Needs Guardianship?

If you want to get a special needs guardianship for a loved one in New York, you will first need to make an application to the Surrogate Court for what is known as an Article 17-A guardianship. The court will evaluate your application and determine if a guardianship is appropriate, and if so, who would make for an appropriate guardian. This process can be complicated, and so you should contact a lawyer with experience handling guardianship cases.

The guardianship law attorneys at David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC will work with you to determine whether a guardianship might be necessary for your loved one, and help you to get a guardianship that will suit your needs. For comprehensive guardianship and elder law services in New York, call David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Setauket office. 

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