What are the Financial Duties of a Guardian?
December 19, 2019
Taking on guardianship of another person, often referred to as a ward, requires a deep understanding of a guardian’s responsibilities. Guardians to New York minors, or adults who are incapacitated or unable to take care of themselves or their finances, incur a host of duties. Some of them relate specifically to financial matters.
Personal Versus Property Guardianship
An individual can be named a guardian of another person, the person’s property and estate, or both. Guardians tend to the needs of their wards, making sure they get enough to eat, have proper shelter, have adequate clothing, go to their medical appointments, and are physically secure. In this way, the guardians act like parents.
Guardians of property focus on caring for the person’s assets. For instance, a guardian of property will have full control of the bank, retirement, and related accounts belonging to the ward. This means that guardians who fall into this category must carefully understand and perform their fiduciary responsibilities.
Taking Care of Financial Accounts
A guardian of another’s property should be prepared to receive, review, and respond when needed to the ward’s banking and investment needs. Guardians are expected to keep all money separate from their own because the money ideally should be used only to purchase or pay for things for the ward. A guardian can get into hot water for mixing the ward’s finances with their own, or for buying questionable items with cash earmarked for the ward.
Covering Real Estate and Business Needs
From paying for rent to collecting a tenant’s monthly leasing fee, guardians must stay up to date on current and future real estate transactions. Their wards may have properties to sell, meaning the guardian should negotiate appropriately in the name of the ward.
In the same vein, if the ward owns a business, the guardian must be ready to jump in and take care of operations. If a niece was named guardian over her uncle with Alzheimer’s, the niece would be expected to handle the accounting of his corner store to ensure the company ran as her ward would desire.
Staying Up to Date on Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as state and local municipality tax entities, expect to receive taxes from everyone who earns income, including incapacitated adults and minors. Guardians should make certain they pay the appropriate amount of taxes. Otherwise, they would be violating their duties.
Leading on Legal Issues
Guardians of property in New York will need to know the legal situation and follow through based on the ward’s known or presumed wishes. Hiring an experienced guardianship lawyer can be a huge help for guardians in this circumstance, or guardians who simply want to do everything by the book. Guardianship lawyers can assist with everything from sending accountings to the right courts to initiating social security for the ward.
Long Island Guardianship Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Clients with Guardianship Concerns
If you have concerns about becoming a guardian or making someone your guardian, contact the Long Island guardianship lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP. Call us at 212-495-8133 or complete an online form for an initial consultation. Located in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.