When most people living in New York turn 18, the state considers them to be an adult, which means they are viewed to be capable and have the legal right to make their own decisions. Yet, if you have a child or other loved one who has an intellectual or developmental disability, that individual may not be able to make sound decisions on his or her own behalf.
Per the New York courts, individuals who reach 18 years of age but may not be able to manage their own affairs and/or executed advanced directives such as a power of attorney, may benefit from an Article 17-A guardianship.
How Article 17-A guardianship works
Article 17-A guardianship is quite restrictive. It may become necessary when an adult has an intellectual or developmental disability like autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or a traumatic brain injury. Upon the appointment of a 17-A guardian, it becomes the responsibility of the person named guardian over the individual with a disability to advocate for his or her best interests and to make financial, medical and personal decisions on his or her behalf.
What to consider before an Article 17-A guardianship
Because Article 17-A guardianship strips away some of an individual’s rights, many people with loved ones with intellectual or developmental disabilities consider alternatives before establishing this type of guardianship. Other, less-restrictive options to consider might include powers of attorney, health care proxies and/or supported decision making, among others.
To seek Article 17-A guardianship, a petitioner who is at least 18 must file certain forms, including a Petition, in the Surrogate Court in which the individual with an intellectual and/or developmental disability resides.