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An Overview of Guardianship In New York

(411 reviews)

Produced on April 04, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 18m
Difficulty Beginner
Topics covered in this course: Wills, Trusts, & Estates

Course Description

In the field of elder law, we strive as practitioners to encourage our clients to execute advance-planning documents necessary to appoint trusted persons to act as fiduciaries in the event that our clients become incapacitated. But there is nonetheless a growing population of persons who, through a catastrophic event or through an age-related cognitive decline, have become too incapacitated to make decisions for themselves and have not appointed anyone to act on their behalf, or have appointed someone who is abusing their role.

This program, led by attorneys Fern Finkel and Julie Stoil Fernandez, is designed to teach practitioners interested in elder law and special needs law the essential tools to determine whether to commence a guardianship proceeding. They will also address the nuances and complexities of guardianship litigation, especially contested cases, and effective tools for addressing emergencies which arise during the litigation, such as placement, financing care and enjoining suspected predators from further abuses. 

Learning Objectives: 
  1. Identify situations warranting a guardianship proceeding
  2. Understand the types of relief available to an alleged incapacitated person during and at the conclusion of litigation
  3. Recognize the steps of guardianship litigation from inception to post-judgment

Credit Information

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Julie Stoil Fernandez

Finkel & Fernandez, LLP

Julie Stoil Fernandez is a partner at the law firm of Finkel & Fernandez, LLP, located in downtown Brooklyn. She has specialized in elder law, guardianship and mental health advocacy since 2000.

An experienced litigator, Ms. Stoil Fernandez represents clients in both contested and non- contested guardianship proceedings and mental health hearings throughout New York City, Westchester and Nassau Counties.

Ms. Stoil Fernandez’ practice also includes estate planning, asset protection planning, probate and administration of estates and mediation for families in crisis over elder law matters.

Prior to starting a solo practice in 2000, Ms. Stoil Fernandez was a staff attorney at Mental Hygiene Legal Service, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, where she litigated hundreds of cases on behalf of patients in both public and private psychiatric facilities in matters involving involuntary care and treatment and class actions concerning the quality of care in state hospitals. Her work included representing persons adjudicated not guilty by reason of mental disease and persons deemed incapacitated to stand trial for criminal proceedings. Before law school, Ms. Stoil Fernandez was a counselor in various homeless shelters in Boston, Massachusetts, culminating in her position as Director of a 500-bed emergency crisis shelter for homeless men.

Ms. Stoil Fernandez received her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She received her Juris Doctor Degree from Northeastern University Law School and was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York in November, 1993. Ms. Stoil Fernandez is certified in family, divorce and elder law mediation. 

Since 2000, Ms. Stoil Fernandez has been a member of the New York State Office of Court Administration’s panel of qualified experts to serve by court appointment as Court Evaluator, Counsel and/or Guardian of person and property. She is also a member of the 18B Panel of appointees for indigent defendants and is Of Counsel to Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, LLC, NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Ms. Stoil Fernandez is a Vice Chair to the New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section Subcommittee on Elder Abuse and is a member of the Subcommittee on Mediation. She is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the New York City Bar Association and the Brooklyn Bar Association. She lectures on topics ranging from advance directives to Medicaid eligibility. She presently serves as a mentor attorney for the New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law Mentorship Program and for the New York Law School Elder Law Clinic.

Fern Finkel

Finkel & Fernandez, LLP


Barbara K.

this was a very substantive presentation I especially liked the contested guardianship section

Andrew M.

The presenters are knowledgeable and compassionate -- very impressive.

Henry S. S.

Extremely helpful and informative! Thank you very much!

Olga A.

Well presented, organized.

judy b.

Excellent presentation!

Joseph D.

excellent and very informative

Michael A.

These presenters were extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter. The materials that they put together are truly exceptional.

Saundra Y.

I particularly liked the two speakers and their approach to balancing law and care.

Eric C.

Very informative and straightforward.

Robert E.

Superb, tag-team presentation. One of the best and informative CLEs I have seen. But some surious prounciations, e.g., awe-dah (order), seen-yah (senior), caught (court), pay-pahs (papers), pow-a (power), you-sah (user) etc.

Kathleen B.

both speakers were knowledgeable and informative

Seth R.

Really good program. Someone whose experience with or knowledge of guardianships is limited will have a better understanding of them by the end of the program. Also, the presenters did an excellent job of helping viewers understand the value of guardianships and how to think about them and deal with them so as to help people who need help.

Bridget A.


Deborah A.

Both presenters were thoroughly prepared and obviously very skilled in their area of practice. I was impressed by how much information was shared in a short time and I learned quite a bit. I was also impressed with their compassion and dedication to helping a very vulnerable population and to secure the best possible outcome for them.

Susan P.

Good overview

Suzanne M.

Very good speakers, seem conscientious.

Andrea Kelli H.

One of THE BEST CLE PRESENTATIONS I've completed to date!

Lauren C.


Kyle E.

The best... Practical, user friendly and instilled confidence for me to handle a Guardianship matter in NYC.

Aimee C.

Great program. The instructors were fabulous

Karen M.

Really enjoy these speakers.

Zenali T.

Presenters were excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed the informative discourse.

Sheldon F.

Very Informative on the topic

Gregory P.

Thank you.

Marc R.

Great introductory program

Matthew K.

Superb. Enlightening, practical, and clear, on an important topic. Thank you.

Janet P. F.

Very caring attorneys.

carolyn w.

Two great presenters who demonstrated solid knowledge and articulated a summary of key considerations. Thank you!

Laury F.

Good introduction to the subject. Very clear presentation.

Ariel D.

Superlative presentation.

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