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What is a guardianship?

When it comes to planning what will happen after you pass away, it is also important to consider who will help you if you become unable to make important decisions while you are still alive. Your estate plan in New York can also include guidance on establishing a guardianship, or conservatorship, to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated.

According to the National Guardianship Association, your guardian can make several decisions on your behalf. These include acting as a representative payee, releasing confidential information, determining where you will live, and consenting to medical and non-medical services. The person who you choose to appoint as guardian will also be able to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf.

When a guardianship is established, your legal rights will be removed and given to the designated person. This means that the guardian will need to be present at all court proceedings where authority will be determined and granted. The court will attempt to assure as much autonomy as possible by using the least intrusive measures.

You may choose to name a friend or family member as your guardian, but the court may also choose to appoint a private or public entity to the role. An annual review will take place to determine if it is still necessary for you to have a guardian or if the arrangement should be terminated. Effective guardianships only exist until the person regains the ability to make decisions, but in many cases you may be incapacitated until you pass away. This information is intended for your education and should not be taken as legal or medical advice. 

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