Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: What are the duties of a guardian or conservator?

Special needs planning attorneys specialize in creating trusts that protect disabled individuals from losing their eligibility to government benefits while allowing their loved ones to give or bequeath them money through a trust, rather than directly, so they can live a higher quality of life.

Another legal doctrine employed in cases of special-needs or otherwise disabled individuals is guardianship proceedings. Guardianship, also called conservatorships, are legal arrangements to place a protected person under the supervision of a guardian. A guardian may be family, friend, or a court-appointed fiduciary. They are charged with either protecting the disabled person or protecting the person’s property and making important financial decisions regarding that property.

New York and New Jersey guardianship attorneys are likely shaking their heads at the story of a woman who reportedly tried to bilk her mentally disabled 20-year-old son out of his $200,000 trust fund– allegedly through a scam that involved going before the probate court with a different young man posing as her son.

Presenting the imposter as her disabled son and asking the court and the examining physicians to determine he was no longer severely mentally disabled and no longer needed a conservator over his trust fund, a mother allegedly attempted to gain access to the $200,000 trust fund. The court reportedly bought it and ordered the trust fund turned over.

However, before the funds could be turned over the real son’s former conservator reportedly became suspicious, launched an investigation, and determined the disabled man had become a ward of the state and had been provided a guardian. Unfortunately, the mother allegedly took her real disabled son and the two went missing before authorities could catch her.

New York and New Jersey Guardianship Attorneys

If you or a loved one is in need of an estate plan, with or without special-needs planning, or are interested in establishing guardianship of a person or their property, the estate planning experts at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York, and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent individuals and their families in both states in all aspects of estate planning and estate administration.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.