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Legal Guardianship for Adults With Disabilities

When someone has lost their mental capacity or ability to manage their property, a guardian may be appointed.

This is an adversarial proceeding because the person’s rights are being removed.

Guardianships for adults with disabilities must be designed to meet their specific needs. They should also be flexible to allow individuals to grow and gain skills and capacity over time.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows someone to appoint a person or organization to make decisions on their behalf. They can be for financial, health care, or other types of situations.

To be valid, the document must meet certain statutory requirements. It also must be signed by the principal and witnessed or notarized.

Generally, you should talk to your loved one about their wishes and needs before you sign the document. This will give you and your loved one a sense of security that their affairs are in good hands if they become incapacitated or unable to communicate.

You may also want to consider appointing an agent that you can trust and feel confident in. This may be a spouse, family member, friend or church member.


If your adult child cannot manage his or her own affairs due to a disability, you can seek the establishment of a Legal Guardianship. This is a court-ordered relationship that enables a person or organization to make decisions on behalf of an individual (known as the ward) who lacks the capacity to do so.

There are two types of guardianships in New York: Article 17-A Guardianships and Article 81 Guardianships, both governed by the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act. These cases involve individuals with intellectual or development disabilities.

In a guardianship proceeding, the petitioner will be expected to present evidence proving why they believe the respondent needs a guardian. The judge will review all of the evidence and make a decision in the respondent’s best interest.

Restraining Orders

Restraining orders can protect an adult with a disability from a spouse, ex-spouse, or someone else who has been abusing the disabled person. These restraining orders are most often used to stop physical, verbal and sexual abuse.

A restraining order must contain specific restrictions that prevent the restrained person from doing things that could violate the court order. These restrictions may include staying away from certain places or doing certain activities.

If the restraining order breaks, the person who was restrained can be sent to jail or pay a fine. This can have serious consequences for the restrained person and their family.

If you’ve been served with a restraining order, you need an experienced attorney on your side to help you defend against it. Contact the Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan for a free consultation today. We are ready to develop a legal strategy to help you win your case!

Court Hearings

If you believe someone needs a guardian, you can petition the court to establish a legal guardianship. This will allow the person to be cared for by a person or organization that you choose, and the court will provide oversight to make sure that the guardian is not abusing or exploiting the disabled individual.

The first step in the guardianship process is to petition the court for a hearing. This will allow the judge to listen to evidence and ask questions about the respondent’s abilities and need for a guardian.

You will need to prove that the respondent has a disability that prevents them from making responsible decisions about their health, food, shelter and other aspects of their lives. To do this, two physicians or one physician and a psychologist or certified social worker-clinical (LCSW-C) must present to the court verified certificates that describe the medical or psychological diagnoses of the person’s disabilities.

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