Lately it seems like the topic of Guardianship is coming up more than ever. Although the school can only offer certain support when it comes to this topic, I would like to share some very specific information that can help you get through almost all of this paperwork on your own. Many, many families have been able to successfully complete the Guardianship process without the support and expense of an attorney. Follow the steps below to learn more about the process and to access the paperwork.
FYI- Why people seek Guardianship of a Developmentally Disabled Person:
In New York State, when any person becomes 18 years old they are assumed to be legally competent to make decisions for themselves. This includes personal, medical and/or their financial decisions. If a person is intellectually disabled or developmentally disabled, has difficulty making decisions for themselves and is over 18 years of age, you can ask the Surrogate's Court to appoint a guardian for him or her.
1. The Surrogate court is not open to the public right now. They have made these four YouTube videos to explain the process of applying for Guardianship and the paperwork involved. I recommend watching these videos and taking notes before starting the paperwork.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8bXdKOcWvw (Video 1 out of 4- General overview)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Fea1w-LQo (Video 2 out of 4 - Alternatives to guardianship)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOt50UXhR1Y (Video 3 out of 4 - Review of 17A paperwork)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4DkKkSzr8o (Video 4 out of 4- Commonly asked questions)
2. The surrogate court will not consider a case for Guardianship until the individual is at least 17.5 years of age.
3. A blank packet and a mock draft of the paperwork are attached to this email to give you specific wording you can use throughout the forms. You can also contact the court to send you a complete blank packet if you do not want to print your own. 718-675-8500
4. Although the court is closed, they WILL accept Guardianship paperwork if you mail it in or drop it off. Please know that before you have your paperwork notarized, you can drop it off for review first! (18 Richmond Terrace) They will carefully go through your paperwork and let you know if corrections need to be made. Then you can pick it up, make any recommended changes, have it notarized and then confidently submit. Eventually you and your family will need to be fingerprinted when things reopen and there is a $20 processing fee.
5. Irini Bekhit is our favorite person at the surrogate court! She is really smoothing out the process for our Staten Island families and is working closely with Hungerford. She is a tremendous source of information so if you have specific questions or concerns you can email me and we can take your questions directly to her.
I recommend saving this email to refer back to as needed. And I hope you find this information useful and helpful. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions anytime. I am here to help! Thank you.
Jenna Amadeo, Transition Coordinator