Silhouette of a child and parent

On July 21, 2016 the New York State Legislature enacted a new guardianship law entitled “Peter Falk’s Law.” This new statute requires the court in issuing a guardianship order to consider the persons entitled to visitation with the incapacitated individual. It also takes into consideration those individuals who should be entitled to receive notice of hospitalization, death, funeral arrangements and burial arrangements with regard to the incapacitated individual. Prior to the enactment of this statute, the guardian had no obligation to provide children or other family members of the information concerning the health and general welfare of the incapacitated person. The reasons for this new statute relate to guardianship lawsuits that were started by adult children of celebrities Glenn Campbell, Casey Kasem and Peter Falk.


These changes to the New York Guardianship Statute now require the judge issuing the guardianship order to put specific powers in the order regarding the guardian. The guardian now must provide information of the incapacitated person’s death, funeral arrangements, final resting place and other issues concerning the burial of this individual.


Under the prior guardianship statute, the guardian was in the position to control who and when family members and friends could visit the incapacitated person. Now the court order appointing the guardian has to identify those individuals who are entitled to visit with the impaired individual.

In the Peter Falk case, Casey Kasem case and Glenn Campbell case, adult children of these celebrities were kept from seeing their dying parent by a second wife who was not their mother. This caused litigation between the children and the second wives.


Attorney Elliot Schlissel

The divorce rates in the United States continue to climb. In the future there will be many more situations involving second, third wives and children from earlier relationships. This creates considerable potential for problems between children of prior marriages and their step parents. This new statute takes into consideration not only the interest of the alleged incapacitated person but the desires of other family members to continue to maintain relationships with him or her and visit with their family members should he or she become ill or hospitalized.