Contact Us

Offices Located At:
326 Walt Whitman Road, Suite 205
Huntington Station, NY 11746

Mailing Address:
PO Box 575
Northport, NY 11768

Phone & Fax:
Office:631.262.7400
Fax:631.262.7422
Toll Free: 1.800.437.8833 

 Guardianships

 

We all know or have heard stories about unsuspecting seniors who have been preyed upon by unscrupulous people or businesses looking to take advantage of them financially.  It runs the gamut from private-duty nurses dragging a wealthy senior suffering from dementia off to the alter so that she can bilk him out of his life's savings, to a sibling helping himself to an early inheritance of more than their fair share of a wealthy, but mentally impaired, parent’s property while the parent is still alive such as in the Brooke Astor case when her son looted his elderly mother's $180 million fortune, to businesses who trick trusting, but impaired seniors into signing contracts turning over their homes for little or no value, to outright physical violence committed upon an elderly and defenseless loved one, to nursing home abuse where seniors live in squalid conditions suffering from bed sores, malnutrition, medication errors, unexplained bruises and falls, and unexplained death. Frequently, these acts are referred to as elder abuse and are criminal.  When a senior citizen or even a young adult who for whatever reason, does not have the requisite mental capacity to appreciate that they are being financially taken advantage of,  that is when it is necessary to have the courts step in and appoint a guardian to protect their rights and property.  Recently, Forbes Magazine reported that "Financial Elder Abuse Rampant in Economic Turndown".

Doniger & Engstrand has an established elder law practice in all phases of guardianship proceedings, contested guardianships and competency/mental capacity hearings. Under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, if a person is mentally incapacitated, a guardian can be appointed to make decisions concerning the person’s personal housing and medical needs as well as to manage their property and make financial decisions for them.  Although guardianships are usually applicable to senior citizens who have become mentally and/or physically impaired, Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law knows no age limit.  Guardians can be appointed under this law whenever any person, no matter whether young or old, is mentally and/or physically impaired to such an extent that a guardian is needed to manage their personal and/or financial needs.  The law gives a concerned family member preference to being appointed guardian.   The powers given to the guardian can be tailored to meet the needs of the incapacitated person. 

In our practice, we have assisted in setting up guardianships for parents of mentally impaired children and advised them on creating supplemental needs trusts to secure their children’s monetary awards derived from medical malpractice settlements while at the same time insuring that they are Medicaid-eligible for their housing and medical needs.  We have also been involved in litigation to set aside and annul fraudulent marriages in the guardianship setting as well as to vacate and set aside fraudulent contracts.  In addition, we have been instrumental in suing to reclaim property that was wrongfully taken from the incapacitated person. 

If your parent, child or loved one has need of our services, please call us.  Let our family help yours.