Justice Howard Sherman

The guardian of the person and property of her daughter, and incapacitated person (IP), and co-trustee of a supplemental needs trust (SNT) established for the IP’s benefit, applied for leave to expend funds from the SNT for the IP’s benefit. New York City’s Department of Social Services (DSS), a party to the action as the IP was a Medicaid recipient, recently argued trustees of an SNT should have unfettered discretion over most expenditures from such a trust. DSS argued the court should not interfere with the exercise of this discretionary power, alleging the instant application was “micro-managing” by the courts. The court disagreed, noting the DSS failed to recognize the court’s obligation to preserve the assets of IPs. It stated the IP, due to such adjudication, was a ward of the court, and the protection of her rights was the court’s responsibility. The court stated the allegation that the court could not review matters pro-actively “flies in the face of both precedent and experience” and is “a formula for disaster.” The court granted the guardian’s application for various expenditures, limiting some as it deemed necessary as the SNT was not a large one, and to preserve it as needed for the IP’s future benefit.