Gwendolyn R., an alleged incapacitated person (AIP), appealed an order appointing a guardian over her person and property. Although Gwendolyn informed the court evaluator of her intent to be present at the underlying hearing, she notified her counsel at the last minute that she was ill. Nevertheless, the Superior Court conducted the hearing, finding that Gwendolyn had waived her attendance. Gwendolyn appealed. The New York Appellate Division held that the state guardianship statute requires that a hearing to determine the appointment of a guardian must be conducted in the presence of the AIP, including at the AIP’s place of residence if necessary. This allows the court to observe firsthand the AIP. The appellate court reversed and remanded with instructions to conduct a hearing at which Gwendolyn was afforded the opportunity to be present.
In re Banks, 2016 WL 1453967 (N.Y. App. Div. First Dept. April 14, 2016)