Definition of a GUARDIAN:
(noun): a person to whom letters of guardianship have been issued by a New York court pursuant to the SCPA, the Family Court Act or Mental Hygiene Law Article 81; this includes a guardian of an infant’s person and/or property appointed under SCPA Article 17 and a guardian for mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person for whom a guardian has been appointed pursuant to SCPA Article 17-A (SCPA § 103 [24])

Plain English translation: a person appointed by a court to be responsible for another individual and/or the property of that individual

Examples: Bob is developmentally disabled. So even though he’s over the age of 18, he needs someone to make decisions for him. Therefore, the court appointed his mother to serve as his guardian. Carrie is 12 years old, so she is too young to protect her legal interests in court. Therefore, her father was appointed as guardian of her property so he could protect her interests.

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Daniel R. Antonelli
Representing trust & estate clients with an emphasis on estate litigation in the New York City Metro Area.