Estate planning disputes can arise in countless ways. One of the most common types of disputes involves individuals who cannot successfully represent themselves or argue for what is in their best interest like mentally incapacitated adults or unborn beneficiaries. In these situations, a New York judge will often appoint a guardian ad litem to act in the position as a surrogate decision-maker. If you find yourself in such a situation, it helps to consider some important things about guardian ad litem, which are reviewed in this article.
# 1 – Reasons to Consider a Guardian Ad Litem
Guardian ad litem can be utilized whenever disputes have arisen involving custody, visitation, or any other issues addressing the subject. In the case of an older individual, a guardian ad litem is often utilized to make sure that the subject is receiving the best care possible. In accordance with New York’s Appointment of Guardian ad Litem statute, the topic comes before a court as the result of a motion by a party to a divorce action, a conservator, a guardian, or the court itself.
# 2 – The Role of Guardian Ad Litem
In the eyes of the law, a person who is considered to not have adequate mental capacity cannot appear in court on their own. In these situations, a guardian ad litem can provide a person with “eyes” and “ears” to make sure that the court makes a decision that is in the person’s best interest. A guardian ad litem also functions as a liaison between the subject’s living conditions and the court. Guardian ad litems also often directly interact with others who are directly involved in the subject’s life.
# 3 – A Guardian Ad Litem Is Not an Attorney
New York courts defer to the input provided by a guardian ad litem, which means that a New York judge is almost certain to play close details to recommendations provided by a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is not the subject’s lawyer. Instead, there are situations where a person might also need a separate lawyer. Instead, guardian ad litem focuses on the subject’s well being and what is in the subject’s best interest. As a result, a guardian ad litem is often not familiar with the various legal nuances involved with a case.
# 4 – Guardian Ad Litem Receives Compensation
Compensation for a guardian ad litem comes from whatever financial resources are involved in a court case. A judge will likely carefully review the guardian ad litem’s fees before assigning an award and make sure they are reasonable. Consequently, the exact amount of compensation that a guardian ad litem can expect to receive varies greatly.
Contact a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
Guardian ad litem as well as other estate planning tools are capable of achieving various goals but also involve a complex body of law. If you or a loved one needs help achieving estate plan goals, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced lawyer. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.