This is a difficult situation. NYS law allows for a petition to be made to the court to appoint an "Article 81 Guardian" for an adult who is alleged to be incapacitated, either mentally, physically, or both and to a wide range of degree. You would have to consult with an attorney experienced in handling these guardianships to see if there is a chance it might apply to your Aunt's condition. Elder Law attorneys are often well versed in these matters.
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I certainly sounds like this is a challenging situation for you. You can seek a declaration that your aunt lacks capacity and an order establishing guardianship. You should consult with local NY attorney for specific advice and an opinion as to whether or not your aunt lacks sufficient capacity to make her own financial decisions.
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I agree with both of my colleagues. Sadly, I am not sure that a court would determine your aunt to be incapacitated, under the circumstances. You often cannot save people from themselves. Her penchant for making bad choices does not render her incompetent.
What you might do instead is to try to counsel your aunt to meet with a financial advisor to determine how best to allocate her resources. If this is set up properly, she might have plenty of money to handle not only her debts, but also have plenty left over to give her some "mad money" to gamble with. If she can be persuaded of the sense and practicality of this, then that may solve your problem. I am concerned that taking this to court is not only not going to result in your success, but it could also irreparably damage your relationship with your aunt.
As the others have stated, this is truly a difficult and challenging situation. Your aunt is fortunate that you are looking out for her interests!
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You should find an elder law attorney familiar with guardianship/conservatorship. You should also consider having her sister involved, as this potentially effects her interest in the estate.
The author is a Maryland attorney; however no answer given on Avvo is intended as legal advice or intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Dan's expertise lies in the electronic entertainment (video game) industry, as well as complex internet law issues, electronic free speech, entertainment law, copyright and trademark law, and computer fraud. He primarily represents game developers and founders of emergent internet technologies.