On January 21, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation which
is often referred to as
Peter Falk’s Law. The law requires guidelines for end of life notices and visitation rights
regarding incapacitated individuals who are the subject of a legal guardianship
The law mandates that a Court-ordered appointment (a guardian) must oversee
the care of an incapacitated person and identify all individuals who are
entitled to notice of a person’s death, funeral and burial arrangements.
The law came about as a result of the end-of-life treatment for the actor
Peter Falk. It had been alleged by Mr. Falk’s daughter that the
actor’s second wife, who had obtained conservatorship of him, had
blocked all contact with family members toward the end of his life.
The law also sought to deal with circumstances where under the then-current
law, legally appointed guardians failed to notify family members or close
friends of an individual when they became sick or were admitted to the
hospital or passed away. The new law requires the identification and notification
of other family and friends and will help insure legal guardians no longer
are able to improperly isolate an incapacitated person at the end of their lives.