The purpose of a guardianship is to provide someone you trust with the legal authority to take care of your personal and property interests in the event you become incapacitated. Guardianship of the Person includes steps to be taken about non-financial matters, which include medical and end-of-life decisions. However, research shows that of 700 guardianship cases filed in Manhattan over the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012, more than 12 percent were brought by nursing homes. Other petitions came from hospitals and Adult Protective Services, but many people are unaware that such steps can be taken by petitioners other than relatives or friends of the person for whom a guardianship is being sought.
A New York parent of a child with a disability may want to set up a special needs trust so that the child can still continue to receive government benefits such as health care upon disbursement of the assets. The special needs trust can be set up during the parent's lifetime or after his or her death, and the device may be able to help ensure the child's future stability.
While some people in New York may assume that only the extremely wealthy need to engage in estate planning, this assumption is false. Everyone should take the time to carefully plan for the resolution of their estate to ensure that their desires are carried out, should they be unable to manage their estate after experiencing a severe injury or illness.