Did You Know the New York Mental Hygiene Law Can Help Protect the Elderly?

When people see the instability of an elderly adult’s physical or mental state, they may physically abuse them or take advantage of their finances and other assets. However, New York Mental Hygiene Law provides the protection family members and their loved ones need to prepare for the future and rest easy knowing things are taken care of.

The following are the two types of abuse the elderly and otherwise challenged adults most often fall victim to:

Physical Abuse

It seems like every day there’s another story on the news about elder abuse in New York occurring at the hands of a caretaker or family member. Often times, the victim of the abuse is either handicapped or dealing with other age-related physical or mental challenges. In most of these cases, law enforcement is required to protect these victims from further abuse — meaning an act of abuse must often first occur, then be properly reported, in order to prevent any future occurrences.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, unfortunately, is another problem in New York that often goes unreported. In many cases, there comes a time when an older adult becomes incapable of managing his or her personal affairs. In a situation where someone takes advantage of an elderly individual’s finances for his or her own gain, they’re committing financial abuse against an elderly person.

Similarly, adults with physical and mental challenges can also fall susceptible to financial abuse. This is why the parent of an adult suffering from mental or physical impairment will often seek to ensure the individual will be supported, looked after, and protected once they’re gone. Many adults with mental and physical impairment whose families have failed to appoint trustworthy guardians in time to take care of all their financial and personal needs are at risk of falling victim to financial abuse.

New York Mental Hygiene Law

Luckily, New York Mental Hygiene Law provides the opportunity for New Yorkers to protect themselves and their loved ones from this type of injustice.

New York Mental Hygiene Law’s Article 81 protects the elderly and otherwise incapacitated from being victimized by just anyone by allowing for the thoughtful appointment of a legal guardian. The appointed guardian will be responsible for handling all the person’s finances and personal needs. Guardianship can involve many aspects, depending on the individual’s needs and other factors.

Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 has a certain set of guidelines and factors for a judge to consider in deciding the appointment of a guardian and what their powers will be. This process can be complicated and involve arguments between family members and friends about who should become the legal guardian and what responsibilities that person should have. But in the end, it’s more effective protection than a power of attorney, which grants legal authority, sometimes on a broad scale, to act on a person’s behalf and can be easily abused.

In addition, when taking care of an adult-child, parents can set up a special-needs trust to ensure their son or daughter will be provided for when they’re gone. Parents often make the mistake of purchasing a life insurance policy instead, without knowing that a lump sum settlement can make an heir ineligible for social security, Medicaid or other vital government programs.

In situations like these, it’s important to find a knowledgeable New York guardianship lawyer or probate Lawyer to help explain your options to you and guide through guardianship proceedings, implementing a special-needs trust or handling any other issues to make sure your loved one is completely protected by New York State Law.

The New York Probate, Elder, and Guardianship attorneys at Gordon & Gordon are experienced in assisting clients with a variety of guardianship and mental hygiene issues. Our professionals are focused on resolving your settlements so you can move on.

If you have any questions about New York Mental Hygiene Law and how we can best represent you, contact us. Our experts can give you a free consultation and get started on your case right away.