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Need help dissolving guardianship in NY


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#1 Alaras43743

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:26 AM

I know the subject seems a bit surprising, so I'll just explain the details (without names). The situation is as follows:

I'm an autistic adult with a BA, currently applying for graduate school (and engaged in various off-the-books educational advocacy consultant jobs), and in May 2008, I applied for SSI in order to receive various benefits (especially Medicaid), and was denied because my mother, whom I no longer live with, deliberately lied to her lawyer about various monies used to establish a Supplemental Needs Trust, and as a result, the trust was improperly established as a third-party trust instead of a first-party trust (I presume that at leat some lawyers here would know at least as much as I do on the subject, which, thankfully, is quite a bit more than most laymen). In order to correct the trust, which took two years of directly fighting with my mother (who refused outright to sign the paperwork), I had to enter into an adult guardianship of property. However, my father, lawyer, and I, after long discussions about the matter, decided to make it a guardianship of person and property, though I still retain complete rights to make any and all medical decisions for myself (medical power of attorney was specifically excluded from the guardianship). As a result of this, and a few other factors, the trust was amended, and I am now in a legal guardianship by my own consent. However, it seems there are complications resulting from this that were unanticipated. As my legal guardian, my father's ability to collect rent is now improperly limited (he has been charging me rent, but it has been deferred due to inability to pay), and as a result, a third of my SSI check is deducted to cover food and housing expenses when it shouldn't be (in essence, my SSI check is supposed to cover my portion of the food bill, especially since, for example, I'm a strict vegetarian while my father isn't). The trust, as mentioned before, has been resolved, and the court's requirements for spending it down are being implemented as required, of course. However, I also have significant concerns due to the fact that being in a legal guardianship impacts my personal legal status on matters such as entering into contracts, setting up an independent business, possibly going for a doctorate degree, and maintaining an appearance of professional legitimacy once I'm actually in grad school pursuing my Master's in Social Work (there is a significant prejudice in the field against people on the spectrum in many regions, and remaining shackled by a guardianship could lead to professional discrimination that I would not likely be able to defend myself against in a court of law, even if the law was on my side). Therefore, what would be necessary to dissolve the guardianship without negatively impacting the trust, my SSI, or, much more importantly, my Medicaid-related benefits? Also, under what conditions can a parent acting as legal guardian to an adult collecting SSI who is living in the same house with them collect rent and document that they are paying for their own share of food purchased and consumed in the household?


#2 Fallen

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:32 AM

Quite a bit too much extraneous detail there.  :)


You don't provide a decent context for a lot of the stuff (in terms of "had to enter into an adult guardianship"), etc.  Bottom line is you need the assistance of a local family law attorney to address trying to have the conservatorship/guardianship lifted.  The issue of the trust impact if lifted is something that kinda should have been discussed before you ever agreed to the guardianship in the first place.  If you don't trust the lawyer initially consulted about this (presumably on your own behalf vs. any trustee's), then you consult someone else.


The issue of SSI-related issues can be discussed with one or more folks at the SSA.  You're expecting a bit too much from the forum/board here.  (As an aside, you don't say whether the father/guardian is claiming you as a dependent on his taxes.)

The issue of the guardian/fiduciary charging a ward rent would typically be something that should be addressed in the court that rubber-stamped the guardianship before it was/is done.

This isn't something that will be resolved by strangers on a message board, and it's not a DIY project.


*  *  *


"However, I also have significant concerns due to the fact that being in a legal guardianship impacts my personal legal status on matters such as [making personal decisions as though you were a minor] ..."

Well, yes, of course.    :)

Therefore, what would be necessary to dissolve the guardianship without negatively impacting the trust, my SSI, or, much more importantly, my Medicaid-related benefits? Also, under what conditions can a parent acting as legal guardian to an adult collecting SSI who is living in the same house with them collect rent and document that they are paying for their own share of food purchased and consumed in the household?


I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 Fallen

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:33 AM

Sorry, but that last paragraph of yours in mine without quotation marks should be ignored.  I cut-paste post text into the reply field and then respond as I read, and I forgot to delete that.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#4 Alaras43743

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 10:05 AM

Said guardian had stated intent to charge rent upon confirmation that SSI had been granted (thus indicating ability to pay), there are records in writing indicating this. I've been trying to schedule an appointment with the attorney who set up the guardianship, but as of yet, have not been able to do so (it's been nothing but phone tag for the past few days), and as I said before, the only reason I consented to the guardianship (which would not have been possible to establish, given my actual capabilities, without my written consent and verbalized consent in front of a judge) was for the purposes of correcting aforementioned trust so that it would be properly classified, which it now is. Therefore, in general, is there a strong possibility that dissolving the guardianship NOW could negatively impact the fixes that have been made?

#5 Alaras43743

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:13 PM

I made a post previously regarding this guardianship, however, circumstances have changed slightly. Due to a series of actions and statements on the part of my legal guardian, both recently and over the course of the past several months, it's my determination that he is utterly incapable of recognizing what my best interests even are, let alone actually acting in my best interests. I have demanded that he contact the attorney and have the guardianship dissolved, and was told that not only will that not happen, but that if I continue to press the issue, he'll completely cut off my access to all monies in order to prevent me from using public transit, for an indefinite period of time, or, as he put it, "until you stop talking nonsense like that". Is there a procedure in place for filing in surrogate court for emancipation of an adult with a disability from a guardianship without the consent of the guardian, or in cases where the guardian is actively opposed to the emancipation, and if so, how possible is it to accomplish without access to the needed money for an attorney (I somehow doubt that Legal Aid can help me in a case where there's little to no legal precedent that I've been able to find in 8 hours of searching law databases, and I don't even know if I'll be GRANTED a free attorney for a case like this)? Also, in the event that my guardian cuts off access to my funds in an attempt to obstruct my ability to file the case, is it possible to have payment of fees deferred?

[This post has been moved to the appropriate discussion. - Moderator]






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