Surrogate's Court - Guardianship

This is a general description of guardianship proceedings. Please refer to the statutes for specific requirements.


Guardianship of an Infant

SCPA Article 17 governs the appointment, duties and authority of a guardian of an infant (any child under the age of 18). A guardian may be appointed of the person and property, of the person only, or of the property only of an infant. The proceeding is brought in the Surrogate's Court of the County where the infant is domiciled or if he/she is a non-domiciliary but has property situated in that County. If an infant is to receive monies over the amount of $10,000.00 pursuant to the terms of a will, by the laws of intestacy, or by a wrongful death proceeding, a petition for guardianship is required by the Court. See FORMS for petition and supporting documents.

SCPA Article 17-A governs the appointment, duties and authority of a guardian of mentally retarded and/or developmentally disabled persons. For purposes of Article 17-A, it is a person who has been certified by one licensed physician and one licensed psychologist (or by two licensed physicians, at least one of whom has professional knowledge in the care and treatment of persons with mental retardation/developmental disability) as being incapable to manage himself/herself and his/her affairs by reason of mental retardation or developmental disability and that such condition is permanent in nature or likely to continue indefinitely. See FORMS for petition and supporting documents.


Guardianship of Adults Who Become Incapacitated

Supreme Courts and County Courts have jurisdiction over the person and property of an mentally incapacitated adult. (See Mental Hygiene Law Article 81) A proceeding under this article shall be brought in the Supreme Court within the judicial district, or in the County Court of the county in which the person alleged to be incapacitated resides, or is physically present. Please contact the Supreme or County Court in the appropriate county for additional information.

THIS MATERIAL IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL/TRAINING PURPOSES ONLY. It is intended for use in conjunction with review of the applicable statute and rules of the Surrogate's Court and the Surrogate's Court Operations Manual.