Information for Appointed Guardians

At a guardianship hearing, a judge decides whether or not to appoint a guardian. The judge’s decision is final. If a guardian is appointed, the court will monitor the guardianship as long as it exists.

A guardian must act on an Incapacitated Person (IP)/Person in Need of a Guardian (PING)’s behalf. Depending on the powers granted by the court, the guardian may be responsible for safeguarding the IP/ PING’s health, security, and wellbeing, and/or protecting and managing their finances and property. They must also follow all requirements and everything in the order.

Guardians have formal responsibilities, often with timelines and deadlines. These may include: getting and filing documents with the court, keeping records of actions and transactions, filing reports of activities, and going back to court when special permission is needed to do certain things. For example, a guardian may need permission to move the IP to a new living situation or to make a large purchase.

These requirements can be confusing and difficult. The Order and Judgment Appointing the Guardian outlines the guardian’s duties and powers and serves as the guardian’s roadmap and guide. It may be helpful for you to review information about guardianship limitations at What is Guardianship.

Below is a summary of resources that can guide and assist guardians.


Guardian Assistance Network (GAN): Assistance for Family/Friends Appointed as Guardians

  • What is it? Guardian Assistance Network (“GAN”) is a statewide court program that offers training, guidance, and individual support to Article 81 lay (family/friend) guardians.
  • How can they help?
    • GAN’s website has materials that provide practical (non-legal) information. This includes the manual Guide to Guardianship for Lay Guardians, a Guide to Prepare the Financial Accounting Segment of the Annual Report, sample reports, and links to reports forms used in different NYS counties.
    • Online training: GAN offers an online Article 81 training that all guardians need to take soon after their appointment.
    • Consultations: GAN provides individual consultations to answer questions and help guardians meet the deadlines for submitting reports and other requirements. It also provides resources and referrals that can help the guardian take care of the IP/PING.
    • GAN Resource Page: Can help guardians identify and contact resources needed to provide for the IP/PING’s needs, such as how to access financial assistance, home care, public benefits, health insurance, and nutrition programs. It can provide guidance on insurance, Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, dispute resolution, advocacy organizations, and more.
    • GAN does not offer legal advice or legal services.

Court Examiner: For Concerns Regarding a Specific Case

  • What is a court examiner? The court examiner is a professional assigned by the judge once a guardian is appointed. They are appointed for the length of the guardianship. The court examiner reviews all reports submitted by the guardian to ensure that the guardian is taking care of the IP/PING and following the judge’s orders.
  • How can they help? The court examiner cannot offer legal advice. However, they can provide guardians with help regarding forms, deadlines, and the process for filing guardianship reports. They can also help clarify a guardian’s powers and explain when the guardian needs to ask for special permission to take an action. They can be a good resource if there is an unexpected issue with the guardianship.
  • If you are having difficulty reaching the court examiner in NYC, reach out to the county's Guardianship Department. If outside NYC, contact the court where the guardianship case was handled. Court Directory

Guardianship Office/Court Clerks: For Questions Regarding the Guardianship Court Procedure and Rules

  • What is it? Within New York City, each county Supreme Court has its own Guardianship Office or Department located within the court.Outside New York City, it is less common to have a specific Guardianship Office. You may find similar assistance located in the court clerk’s office where Article 81 cases are handled. They will often be found in the county court, but sometimes it can be Surrogate’s Court. View the Court Directory.
  • How can they help? They can answer questions about filing documents, and court procedures and rules, such as deadlines, sample forms, format of legal papers, and how to communicate with the court. They may be able to help you access documents or direct you where to get them. They CANNOT provide legal advice or assist in drafting documents.

Family, Friend, and Caregiver Resources: For resources and information on caregiving, guardianship alternatives, legal arrangements, and more

  • What is it? The Family, Friend, and Caregiver Resource Guide provides information on alternatives to guardianship and general caretaking resources.
  • How can it help? There is information on benefits, home care, alternatives to guardianship, financial scams, legal services, and more. It also includes information about how to contact various programs, organizations, and agencies to secure public and private benefits.

Glossary: Defines terms related to Article 81 Guardianship