Article 17A Proceedings - Makofsky & Associates, P.C.

Article 17A Proceedings

In New York State, parents are deemed to be the natural guardians of their child, until that child reaches 18 years of age. Once the child has reached the age of 18, New York State deems that individual to be a legal adult, capable of making his or her own decisions. In the event that person is either intellectually or developmentally disabled, losing the ability to make decisions or provide assistance can be very stressful for parents. There are, however, options for the parent(s) to be able to continue to legally look after their child’s needs, both physically and financially.

The New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, Article 17A provides a mechanism for parents to seek guardianship over their disabled child. The parent(s) or caretaker(s) can petition the local Surrogate’s Court seeking the ability to make decisions on behalf of the disabled adult child. A certification from one physician and one psychologist or two physicians must be filed with the petition certifying that the person has a disability and is not able to manage his or her affairs because of an intellectual disability, developmental disability or a traumatic head injury. The Surrogate’s Court can appoint a guardian of the person, the property or both.

In the initial petition, a request can be made for the Court to also appoint standby guardians, which allows for a more seamless transition in the event the original named guardian is no longer able to act in the future. Ideally, the petition seeking guardianship should be filed immediately prior to the child turning 18 years of age in order to avoid delays, but it can be filed any time after his or her 18th birthday.

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