Guardianship Laws New Jersey
A person is considered an adult in New Jersey as soon as they turn 18. That gives them the right to make their own financial, health and life choices — but what happens if they are unable to do so?
Unfortunately, there are situations in which individuals cannot safely make decisions on their own. We often associate this with the elderly in declining health. But there are many children and adults in New Jersey with developmental disabilities that impact their ability to care for themselves. Those individuals need a guardian.
To receive the authority to make choices for an incapacitated person, a family member or other interested party must petition the court to become his or her legal guardian. A guardianship lawyer from the Susan Clark Law Group LLC can help you with this process.
Our compassionate special needs law firm can prepare your petition for guardianship and represent you in court to show why your family member needs your guidance.
Call or contact us for a free consultation.
The Guardianship Process in New Jersey
The Superior Court of New Jersey is in charge of appointing guardians. Petitioners can go through this process in several ways:
- Individually: You represent yourself in court.
- With a lawyer: A guardianship attorney at the Susan Clark Law Group can help ensure that you have the documentation you need to show why your family member needs a guardian.
- Through the Bureau of Guardianship Services (BGS): The Department of Human Services can assist people with relatives who receive services through the Division of Developmental Disabilities. There are approximately 4,000 requests pending.
A competent individual can designate someone to have Power of Attorney to make decisions on his or her behalf before guardianship proceedings begin. If that is not possible, a court hearing will be needed to evaluate whether the person is partly or wholly incapacitated. This is done by obtaining statements of incapacity from at least two doctors and evaluation by court-appointed counsel. Once those steps are complete, a judge will return a judgment either appointing or denying the family member’s request for limited or general guardianship.
Beyond family members, other interested parties or an agency like the Bureau of Guardianship Services can be appointed as guardians to New Jersey residents.
Guardian Rights and Responsibilities in New Jersey
A guardianship is considered the option of last resort in New Jersey because it takes away a person’s right to dictate their own affairs. There are a number of rights and responsibilities a guardian has in New Jersey. Among them include:
- Advocating for the incapacitated person to become independent
- Talking about decisions with the protected person and taking their input and preferences into account
- Making medical and other decisions based on the best interests of the incapacitated person
- Arranging for health and education services for the individual
- Visiting with the loved one at least once every three months
- Providing activities and social opportunities for the incapacitated person
In addition, guardians must comply with all requirements set by the court.
How Can Susan Clark Law Group Help Me?
Making guardianship decisions can be stressful. The New Jersey guardianship lawyers at Susan Clark Law Group LLC can help.
Our knowledgeable lawyers can assist you with all aspects of the guardianship process. We can also discuss whether other alternatives to guardianship might be appropriate in your relative’s case.
Call us today or contact us online for your free case evaluation.