As your parents get older, they may need more and more help. Picking up prescriptions and taking them to the doctor means time away from your job, but you will do anything to help them.  

Does one of your parents have dementia? Are they both at the point where they cannot take care of themselves? Maybe it is time to think about getting them the help they need by becoming their guardian. 

Types of guardianships 

A guardian is a person or organization appointed by the court to oversee the legal rights of a person. There are three types of guardianships in New York: 

  1. Article 17 – This is the guardianship for a minor. 
  1. Article 17A – This type of guardianship is for those who need continued care after the age of 18. 
  1. Article 81  The court appoints a guardian for a person who cannot manage for himself or herself due to incapacity. Incapacitated individuals need help to care for themselves or manage their property or finances.  

The process of Article 81 

Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law might work best for you and your parents. The procedure is as follows: 

  • The judge appoints a court evaluator who will speak with your parents to decide if they need a guardian. 
  • During a hearing, you and the court evaluator will give testimony to the need for guardianship. 
  • If the judge determines they need a guardian, you must file an order and judgment with the court for approval. 
  • You will have to take a training program approved by the chief administrator, which includes the legal duties and responsibilities of the guardian and the rights of your parent as an incapacitated person. 

The court may need you to purchase and file a bond. After filing the bond and additional documents, the court clerk will issue you a commission that you are the guardian of your parents.