There comes a time when many people become unable to care for themselves and may need a guardian. For instance, a developmentally disabled child may reach the age of 18. An older parent may be succumbing to dementia. An injury or illness may render a loved one unable to make their own decisions. In such cases, New Jersey law allows for appropriates a concerned person, most often a close family member, to be appointed their guardian.
For instance, under New Jersey law, when a child turns 18 years old, they are legally considered adults and able to make their own decisions. However, the law recognizes that developmentally disabled persons, despite their age, may be unable to make important decisions for themselves.
Guardians manage the incapacitated person’s affairs. Guardians can be for the “person” and/or for the “property.” A guardian of the person will manage the incapacitated person’s affairs, making personal and medical decisions for the incapacitated person. If an incapacitated person has assets, a guardian for her property will be appointed to manage her assets and make financial decisions for her benefit. A person can be both a guardian for the person and the property of an incapacitated person. The guardian in essence is much like a parent, she will make all decisions for the incapacitated person.Process
A person who wishes to be appointed guardian will have to petition the court by filing a complaint for guardianship, together with the reports of two doctors certifying that the person is unable to make their own decisions and manage their own affairs. An inventory of the incapacitated person’s assets must be submitted with the complaint.
Once the complaint is filed, the court will appoint an attorney for the alleged incapacitated person, who will be paid from the incapacitated person’s assets. The alleged incapacitated person may also retain their own attorney.
After the complaint and reports are filed, the court will hold a hearing and determine whether to grant or deny the request for the appointment of a guardian. The court will then issue a judgment for guardianship. The guardian will then meet with the surrogate, who will issue letters of guardianship. The guardian must thereafter make periodic reports about the incapacitated person’s affairs to the surrogate.Contact Us
Call us if you have a family member or loved one whose ability to manage their own affairs is compromised. We will meet with you to examine the facts and determine if a guardianship is appropriate. If so, we will work with you to ensure that all of the requirements of New Jersey guardianship law are met. We will help with the arrangements to have the incapacitated person examined by two physicians to determine her competency. We will work with you to prepare the inventory of assets and prepare the petition for guardianship, which we will file with the court and serve on all of the interested parties. We will work with the court appointed attorney to help her prepare her report and recommendation. We will then represent you at the guardianship hearing.
For more information or to set up a consultation, e-mail us or call (973) 890-0004.