On July 1, 2019, Daniel J. Reiter, Esq. was invited to speak with college students and law students interning at the Richmond County Surrogate’s Court.
Mr. Reiter, who interned at the same court as a law student, spoke with interns about law school admissions, managing his own practice, and the day-to-day life of a lawyer.
No. Even if you are the “petitioner” – the person who is asking the judge to appoint a guardian – you can ask the judge to appoint someone else. If there are no family or friends willing and able to serve, the judge can appoint a non-profit organization or “independent” professional guardian to serve.
No (except for limited exceptions). In New York, parents are the natural guardians of their children until age 18. However, once a child reaches 18, even if they are developmentally or intellectually disabled, a parent cannot automatically make decisions for their adult child. Guardianship is often necessary for developmentally and intellectually disabled adults who do not have capacity to manage their own affairs without assistance.
Although most guardians are authorized to make routine and non-routine medical decisions on behalf of their ward, the administration of psychiatric medication to a person who objects requires special authorization from a judge, even if you were already appointed guardian.
There is no set time. However, from the time counsel is retained, it usually takes about 2-4 months total for the guardian to begin acting. However, if a guardian is needed immediately, the judge can appoint a “temporary guardian” while everything gets sorted out. This speeds up the process.
Generally, none. New York used to use the terms conservator (today’s version of guardian of the property) and committee (today’s version of guardian of the person). Many states still use the term conservator, but the concept is the same.