Yes, in most cases you do need a guardianship for your special needs child once he or she turns 18. By law, once an individual turns 18 in New York, he or she is considered an adult and has all of the rights that come with adulthood. That means that in many cases in order to continue assisting the child with daily life, such as by communicating with doctors and making medical decisions, handling the child’s finances, and making other decisions for the child, the parent must obtain a legal guardianship.
Under New York law, a special type of guardianship is possible under Article 17-A of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act. In order for a guardian to be appointed under Article 17-A, the individual must have been certified as incapable of managing himself or herself and his or her affairs due to a developmental disability that is permanent or likely to continue indefinitely. The certification must be granted by two licensed medical professionals.
If a guardianship is granted under Article 17-A, it’s a full guardianship which means the guardian can make all decisions for the protected individual. However, an exception exists if the special needs individual is substantially self-supported by employment. In that case, a limited guardianship of the property may be granted over all property other than wages or earnings.
If you are the parent of a special needs child in New York, and he or she is about to turn 18, or is already over 18, you may be interested in obtaining guardianship over him or her. If so, call the New York Attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444.