Understanding When Guardianships Are Needed
At times, the law requires the appointment of a legal guardian to care for a person, to oversee a person's money, or to do both. For example, if parents die while their children are still minors, the law requires the appointment of someone to care for the children until they become adults. Hopefully, the parents designated in their Wills the person or persons whom they would like to serve as guardians of their minor children.
Guardianship Of An Incapacitated Adult
Sometimes a guardianship of an adult incapacitated person is required. Examples of circumstances when someone may petition the Court for the appointment of a guardian of a loved one include:
If a loved one suffers from Alzheimer's disease or other dementia, or suffers a stroke, impairing mental capacity
If a child with special needs attains the age of 18 and, therefore, is considered to be an adult, and lacks sufficient capacity to govern his or her own affairs.
Under these circumstances, a family member or members may petition the Court to have their loved one declared mentally incapacitated and to be appointed legal guardian of the person, of the property, or of both the person and the property for the care and well-being of their loved one.
The Guardianship Process In New Jersey
The process in New Jersey generally involves the petitioners' filing a Verified Complaint supported by physician affidavits. Upon the filing of the Complaint, the Court usually will appoint an attorney to represent the interests of the allegedly mentally incapacitated person.
That attorney not only represents the interests of the allegedly incapacitated person, but also conducts an investigation and prepares a report to submit to the Court recommending how the Court should proceed. Ultimately, the matter will be set for a hearing at which the Court will render a decision on whether the individual should be adjudicated to be mentally incapacitated and a guardian or guardians appointed for that individual.
Get Experienced Guardianship Advice
Call my Mt. Laurel office at (609) 953-2000 or contact me online for a free telephone consultation about whether you need a guardianship and how best to proceed.