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Brooklyn Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee conducts Article 81 workshop

June 16, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The BBA held a workshop for Article 81 guardianship hearings on Tuesday. Pictured from left: Julie Stoil Fernandez, James H. Cahill Jr., Robin Goeman, Daniel Miller and Amber Evans, CLE director at the Brooklyn Bar Association. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee hosted a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar titled “Article 81 Skills Workshop: Motions for Interim Relief” in Brooklyn Heights on Tuesday.

The CLE, hosted by Elder Law Committee co-chairs Anthony Lamberti and Fern Finkel, had an interactive format where audience members were active participants in discussing the various scenarios that arise during Article 81 guardianship hearings (guardianship of an incapacitated adult).

It was moderated by Daniel R. Miller and featured Robin N. Goeman, Julie Stoil Fernandez and James H. Cahill Jr.

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“Being a guardian comes with many responsibilities and a ton of dilemmas that can arise,” Miller said. “We are going to examine some of the things we would do after a judge appoints us a guardian.”

The group explained a hypothetical fact pattern to the audience in the fake case of “Sylvia Slipsalov.” After describing the facts of the case, the attorneys discussed with the audience the various problems that may arise, like hoarding, foreclosure, family fighting, missing money, Medicaid, nursing home placement and repairs and how to deal with them. 

“It’s really important to look at the court evaluator’s report, and a practical matter that I always look for is to see if there is a dog involved in the case,” Goeman said. “Look at the court evaluator’s report, look at the petition and look to see if there is any directions for where you have to start because there has already been research and analysis into what has gone on with the case.” 

Goeman drew a laugh when she mentioned checking to see if a dog was involved in the case, but she explained how minor details like that can often complicate guardianship hearings.

“The problem is that a dog walker is going to want cash and where are you going to get the justification for how you spent this cash?” Stoil Fernandez said. “You can write a check, but this isn’t necessarily a person who is on the books. Do you really want to be responsible for it? This is something that a court examiner can forgive in advance if you lay it out early as best you can.” 

That was the final CLE on the Brooklyn Bar Association’s schedule. It is planning an aggressive schedule of CLEs starting again in the fall.


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