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I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner in New York State, I…

Customer Question
Hi, I am a...

Hi, I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner in New York State, I have a patient who is currently dealing with family court and criminal court cases. She does not have a good understanding of the court procedures, does not have calls returned by her lawyer, and has a lot at stake. Does she have a right to request a legal advocate who can help her navigate the system so that she has a chance at a fair and just outcome?

Lawyer's Assistant: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in?

New York State, in Syracuse

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Well, yes, she's knee deep in the proceedings.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes, my patient may not be able to fully comprehend all that is going on, and I think there has to be a way for her to get an advocate. I

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
9/15/2017
Family Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 124,455
Experience: Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

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Family Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 months ago

She has a right to appoint a power of attorney who can deal with her attorney on her behalf and has the power to direct the lawyer and make legal decisions for her with the lawyer, presuming she is currently mentally competent to give such power of attorney. If she is not currently mentally competent to give her consent to a power of attorney, then she would need a family member to go to court to obtain guardianship over her through a court order and then they could deal with the lawyer on her behalf.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
She can't afford a power of attorney, I am asking if she has a right to a legal advocate.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I do not want a phone call, and I've experienced two attempts to get more money than was originally asked to answer this question. I don't appreciate that, and am not pleased thus far.
Family Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 months ago

What do you mean she cannot afford a power of attorney, power of attorney does not cost anything. It is a document she signs granting some person the right to deal with her lawyer and represent her wishes on her behalf with the lawyer.

She does not have a right for a "legal advocate" since she has a lawyer already, which is why I answered the way I did above. A power of attorney or a guardian does not cost her more money, they are simply a person appointed by her or the court to represent her interests.

Sorry, the experts do not send those requests, you can ignore them.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
The patient states that she signed paperwork for her sister to be able to talk to the lawyer on her behalf. I don't know if that indicates power of attorney, I'm not familiar with the legal system which is why I'm asking. The sister has called the lawyer many times and does not have her calls returned, nor does the patient.
Family Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Thank you for your reply.

I understand you do not know about the legal system, which is why you are here and why we are trying to tell you what she needs and what she can and cannot do.

There is no such thing as a "legal advocate" to be appointed to her. If she gave her sister power of attorney to deal with the lawyer on her behalf, then you need to speak to the sister and tell the sister that if the lawyer is not communicating with her in a reasonable manner, then she needs to send the lawyer a letter documenting each time she tried to call and telling the lawyer that failure to communicate with her about the case is a violation of the rules of professional conduct and demand a meeting be scheduled.

If the lawyer does not respond to that letter, then you need to tell the sister she needs to file a complaint with the Attorney Grievance Committee (copy and paste the link to your browser, do not click on it): https://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/grievance/complaints.shtml

Also, if the sister has power of attorney, she can fire the lawyer and hire a new one for your patient, one that will do the job they were hired to perform.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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