A family-based organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

A View from the Bench: Guardianship and Supported Decision-Making Issues, Challenges Practices and Reform

Wednesday, November 2, 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

View the session here.

Panel members

  • Hon. Louis P Gigliotti (Oneida County)
  • Hon. Peter J. Kelly (Queens County)
  • Judge David H. Guy (Broome County)
  • Hon. Brandon R. Sall, (Westchester County)

"In this session, participants will hear from sitting Surrogate Court Judges about the important role of the Court in guardianship proceedings.  The audience will learn about the duties of the Court, as well as evolving expectations in today's climate of supportive decision-making, self-determination, guardianship appointments and less restrictive supports.  Participants will better understand the guardianship process and ongoing responsibilities of guardians as well as learn to better navigate the Surrogate Court system in a changing world on behalf of the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities they serve."

 Moderator: Tara Anne Pleat, Esq., Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC, Special Needs and Trusts & Estates Attorney, New York, and Member of The Arc New York Guardianship Committee

About the Hon. Louis P Gigliotti:


Hon. Louis P. Gigliotti, Judge Gigliotti has been serving as the Oneida County Surrogate since 2009.  Prior to taking the bench, Judge Gigliotti was in private practice for over 25 years handling a variety of civil litigation matters, including estate and trust litigation.

In addition to serving as Surrogate, Judge Gigliotti is designated an Acting Supreme Court Justice.  In that capacity, he presides over the Oneida County Mental Hygiene calendar.  This calendar includes handling all guardianship petitions filed under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law.

Judge Gigliotti is a Past-President of the Surrogates’ Association of New York State.  In addition to being a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Elder and Special Needs Law section, he is also a member of the Trusts and Estates section.  He has been invited to speak at conferences sponsored by these sections on several occasions.  He is also a Past-President of the Oneida County  Bar Association and a former Member of the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates.

About the Hon. Peter J. Kelly:


Queens County Surrogate Peter J. Kelly is a graduate of Iona University and St. John’s University School of Law.  Prior to his judicial career, Surrogate Kelly was employed in various positions in the New York City Criminal and Civil courts, and as a Principle Law Clerk in New York State Supreme and Surrogate’s courts. 

Judge Kelly was elected to the New York City Civil Court in 1998, the New York State Supreme Court in 2002, and finally as the Queens County Surrogate in 2011.      

In addition to his judicial duties, Surrogate Kelly has been a frequent lecturer at County and State Bar Associations as well as for various civic and charitable organizations.  He is also the author of numerous decisions which have been published in the New York Law Journal and New York Reporter. 

Surrogate Kelly is currently a member of the Surrogate’s Court Advisory Committee to the Chief Judge; the Administrative Board of the Office of the Public Administrators; and is Chair of the Executive Committee of the New York State Surrogate’s Association.  Surrogate Kelly has also been selected as a member of the Irish Legal 100 comprised of outstanding attorneys of Irish descent in the United States.

Additionally, Surrogate Kelly is a member of the Trusts and Estates Section and the Judicial Section of the New York State Bar Association; the Queens County Bar Association; the Queens County Women’s Bar Association; the Brehon Law Society; and the Queens Catholic Lawyer’s Guild, serving as Judicial Moderator since 2009.  

About Judge David H. Guy:


Hon. David Guy, Surrogate, Broome County, has served as Broome County Surrogate Court Judge since January 2011.  He is the former President of the Surrogate’s Association of the State of NY.  In addition to Broome County Surrogate’s Court, Judge Guy handles the Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 Guardianship matters throughout the 6th Judicial District and MHL Article 9 cases in Broome County as an Acting JSC.  He serves on the Editorial Board of Warren’s Heaton on Surrogate’s Court and on the New York State OCA Guardianship Advisory Committee.  Before becoming Surrogate, Judge Guy was with the Binghamton firm of Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP.  Judge Guy received his BS from the University of Rochester (1978) and JD from Albany Law School (1986).

About the Hon. Brandon R. Sall:


Surrogate Sall graduated from the University of Miami in 1982, and thereafter from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1985.  From October 2014 until he became Surrogate in June 2015,  Judge Sall was formerly the managing member of the White Plains law firm of Sall, Geist, Schwarz & Jellinek, PLLC.  Prior to that, Judge Sall was a partner in Sall & Geist from 2012 to 2014.  Prior to the formation of Sall & Geist in January 2012, Judge Sall was a partner in Schuman & Sall from 1992 to 2002 and of counsel to the Yonkers law firm of Rabin, Panero and Schuman from November  1988 to July 1992.  Additional, until June 2015, Judge Sall was a partner in the White Plains law firm, Gellert & Rodner, which specializes in tax certiorari matters.

Judge Sall specialized in trusts and estates and real estate law and had a significant transactional and litigation practice.  In 2002, Judge Sall became general counsel to the Westchester County Public Administrator and served until June 2015.

From 2008 to 2015, Judge Sall was a board member of the New York State Thruway Authority and serves as the chairman of the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee that chose the winning bidder for the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing.

In May, 2015, Judge Sall was appointed by the Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, as Surrogate of Westchester County and was thereafter elected Surrogate of Westchester County in November 2015.

In 2018, Judge Sall became a member of the Statewide ADR Advisory Committee, which has been tasked with formulating policies for the implementation of ADR throughout the court system in New York State.

Judge Sall is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Westchester County Bar Association as well as the Trusts and Estates sections of the New York State Bar Association and Westchester County Bar Association.

About Tara Anne Pleat, Esq.:


Tara Anne Pleat, Esq., co-owns the law firm Wilcenski & Pleat, PLLC. She practices in the areas of special needs estate planning and administration, traditional estate planning and administration, long-term care planning, and elder law. Tara graduated cum laude from Albany Law School with honors in the Estate Planning concentration and earned her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany.

Tara is the Chair-elect of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the New York State Bar Association. Tara is the immediate past editor of the Elder and Special Needs Law Journal, a publication of the New York State Bar Association. She is also an active member of the Trusts and Estates Law Section, where she serves as District Delegate for the Fourth Judicial District.  She is honored to be a member of the Special Needs Alliance, an invitation-only, national network of leading attorneys dedicated to the practice of disability and public benefits law. She is also a Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

In March of 2016, Tara was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).  ACTEC Fellows are selected on the basis of experience, professional reputation and ability in the fields of trusts and estates and on the basis of having made substantial contributions to these fields through lecturing, writing, teaching and bar activities. 

Tara is a Past President of the Board of Directors of the Estate Planning Council of Eastern New York. In addition, Tara is a graduate of the 2006 class of Leadership Saratoga, sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce, and currently is a member of the Leadership Saratoga Advisory Board. Tara is a Member of the Board of Directors of AIM Services, Inc., a disability service organization based in Saratoga Springs, New York. She is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Wesley Community, a continuing care community for seniors in Saratoga Springs, New York and also serves on the Board of the Wesley Foundation.  Tara also chairs the Planned Giving Committee of the Wildwood Foundation, an organization that supports Wildwood Programs, a school for individuals with disabilities in Albany, New York. Tara is also a Member of The Arc New York’s Statewide Guardianship Committee.

In the fall of 2012, Tara was appointed as an adjunct professor of law at Albany Law School, where she teaches a course in the spring semester on estate and financial planning for the elderly and individuals with special needs.