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How does a guardianship work?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2021 | Blog, Guardianships

You could ask for guardianship over a child or another adult. The court process for securing such an arrangement is complex as the court must ensure it is in the best interests of the person who you wish to place under guardianship.

According to the New York State Unified Court System, if you secure guardianship over another person, you gain the legal right to make decisions on his or her behalf. The court typically grants this power in cases where the person is unable to care for him or herself or is not of legal age to do so.


If you wish to seek guardianship, you will need to go to court. Cases may go in front of a judge in the Supreme Court, family court or surrogate’s court. It depends on the circumstances and details of your situation as to which court will handle your case.

Types of cases

There are three options when filing your case. You can ask for full guardianship, which will give you control over the person and his or her legal property. This allows you to make decisions for the person and control over the handling of his or her assets.

The other two options are either guardianship over just the person or just his or her property. Because these two things can be separate under the law, one person could have two guardians who handle the person and property separately.

A guardianship gives you a lot of power and control, which is why the court is very careful about granting one, especially for an adult. You will have to prove you have the best interest of the person in mind when taking the action and the ability to properly handle the power the court grants you.