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Protecting Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

Finding professional and caring home care services for an elderly family member can be challenging.  Families express concerns over the prevention of elder abuse and how they can protect a loved one’s legal rights.  Seeking advice from an experienced elder law attorney can help you make the right decisions when it comes to your elderly loved ones.

There are several forms of elder maltreatment, including emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and financial abuse.  Some studies report as much as 25 percent of elderly adults are abused in some fashion at the hands of caregivers.  Caregivers can be paid employees or family members.

One obstacle in remedying elder abuse is identifying it in the first place.  Older adults may have dementia or other health issues, that may cause them to have a disheveled appearance.  Separating the cases where an individual’s grooming issues are caused by maltreatment, as opposed to it being an effect of medical and psychological concerns, is not as easy as one might think.  Additionally, it may be necessary for caregivers to take precautions, such as physical restraints, to safeguard an individual’s safety.  Each case must be analyzed on an individual basis because the circumstances may lead to a finding of maltreatment, or may be a justifiable safety measure.

Another obstacle facing abuse is the secrecy surrounding issues of elder abuse.  According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are approximately 65.7 million informal and family caregivers in America.  Due to such a high number of family and informal caregivers, many times elder abuse is not discussed or reported.  Aside from instances of intentional abuse, caregivers can often suffer from fatigue and lack of resources to adequately care for their loved one which can lead to unintentional neglect or abuse.

Choosing the right caregiver and planning for long term care are very difficult and important decisions you and your family will have to make.  Contact an experienced New York elder law attorney who can help.  For more information, contact Hobson-Williams, P.C. at (718) 210-4744 for the quality representation that you deserve.

Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. Defends Client’s Marriage to Husband who was declared an Incapacitated Person Resulting in Wife Inheriting $3 Million Dollar Estate

Tanya Hobson-Williams, NY AttorneyOn September 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Department reversed a lower court’s order annulling the marriage between a younger woman and an elderly man.  The Appellate Division determined that a new hearing on the man’s ability to enter into a marriage contract was warranted. Capacity, in a legal sense,refers to the ability to make a rational decision based upon all relevant facts and considerations.

The case involved an elderly man who was appointed a guardian by the New York Supreme Court to provide for his personal needs and property management. During the course of his guardianship, the elderly gentleman entered into a marriage with a younger woman. After being informed of the marriage, the guardian asked the Court to have a psychologist determine whether the elderly man had the capacity to enter into a marriage. After a hearing and testimony, the New York State Supreme Court determined that the elderly gentleman lacked the capacity to enter into a marriage, and, as a result, annulled the marriage.

On Appeal, attorney Tanya Hobson-Williams, representing the young woman, argued that her client was not given any notice that her marriage would be annulled and that she lacked the opportunity to be heard by the court before it ultimately decided to annul the marriage to her late husband. While the petition to appoint a Guardian for the elderly man requested a determination of the elderly gentleman’s capacity to handle his affairs, neither the Petitioner nor the Guardian ever requested that the marriage be annulled. Essentially, all that was formally requested of the court was to determine matters pertaining to the level of guardianship. Continue reading “Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. Defends Client’s Marriage to Husband who was declared an Incapacitated Person Resulting in Wife Inheriting $3 Million Dollar Estate”

The Purpose of a Guardianship and the Mental Hygiene Law: Article 81

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsIf you’re finding it difficult to take care of your personal needs or your property, or maybe you do not really understand the decisions that you have been making, and/or your friends and family are concerned but are unable to provide the help you need, perhaps an appointed Guardian is an option for you or your loved one.

The New York Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 was established to provide a Guardian to handle the personal and property needs of an alleged incapacitated person.  Incapacitated persons are those who are unable to provide for their own personal needs and/or to manage their property.  In addition, an incapacitated person is someone who is unable to comprehend or appreciate the inability to handle such affairs.

You might be asking yourself, “Well, how does someone know they are an incapacitated person?  What are the signs or symptoms so that you or a loved one can be appointed a Guardian?”

A Guardian is rarely appointed to an incapacitated person because he/or she self declares or voluntarily decides to classify themselves as an incapacitate person.  Rather, it is a decision that is given by court order based upon the condition of the individual so that a Guardian can be appointed.  The court’s decision is based upon evidence that is clear and convincing that the individual is likely to suffer from harm because he or she cannot comprehend the consequences of the actions they are taking or cannot provide for themselves adequately.   The Guardian can be someone the incapacitated person recommends or nominates or simply someone the court appoints that can best serve their interests.

Now that you have an appointed Guardian or you’re aware that such an option is available, you’re probably wondering what a Guardian will actually do for me.  The Duties and obligations of the Guardian are created in a particular way so that the needs of the incapacitated person are catered to in regards to personal care and/or the individual’s property management.  There may be a variety of issues that a Guardian may be appointed to help with including financial affairs, physical illness, substance abuse or dependency, personal needs, management of property.  The purpose is to help with the best interest of the incapacitated person in mind.  The Guardian will help make decisions that may be too difficult to make alone, handle medical needs or personal care, and to make sure finances are in order.

The Law Firm of Hobson-Williams, P.C. can assist with all aspects of Guardianships from the application to the court, preparation for the court proceeding and after the Guardian is appointed.

Call our office at (718) 210-4744 now to schedule a consultation!