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In re Mark C.H.

28 Misc. 3d 765, 906 N.Y.S.2d 419 (2010)

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In re Mark C.H.

New York Surrogate Court

28 Misc. 3d 765, 906 N.Y.S.2d 419 (2010)

Facts

Mark C.H. suffered from profound mental disability and severe autism. After the death of Mark’s mother, Marie H., in 2003, Mark was placed in residential care at the Anderson Center for Autism (Anderson). Marie left a substantial trust to provide for Mark’s care, for which Marie’s attorney (trustee) (petitioner) was the trustee. In 2007, the trustee brought a petition under New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Section 17-A, which governs guardianships for intellectually and developmentally disabled persons, to be appointed as Mark’s guardian. An attorney from Mental Health Legal Services (respondent) represented Mark in the proceedings. Mark’s disabilities rendered him unable to attend or participate in the guardianship proceedings. During the guardianship hearing, the trustee revealed he had never visited Mark and that no trust funds had been used for Mark’s benefit in the four years since Marie’s death. Pursuant to a court order, the trustee retained Robin Hoffman, a certified care manager, to manage Mark’s ongoing care and ensure that Mark received sufficient funding from the trust to cover all the items, services, and care he needed to maximize his quality of life and ability to thrive. It was undisputed that Mark was receiving sufficient basic care; however, his care options had been limited to what Medicaid would cover because trust funds had not been released. The trustee’s position as the only reasonable, available guardian for Mark was not challenged.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Glen, J.)

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