Guardianship Safeguarding Your Family's Future

Guardianship Lawyers in Parsippany, NJ

Reputable & Skilled Legal Representation for New Jersey Families

A guardianship is often called for in the case of individuals who are incapable of making sound decisions about their lives. These individuals can include elderly adults who have become incapacitated through advanced age and cognitive diseases, minor children lacking the care and protection of a parent, and developmentally disabled adults. If you need to establish a guardianship for an elderly relative, disabled adult child, or a minor child, you will need to formally do so through the courts.

At Simon, O’Brien, & Knapp, our trusted legal team can help you with all aspects of the guardianship process. As a family law firm that has assisted clients throughout the area for decades, we have extensive experience and knowledge to apply in navigating the process. We can educate you on available options and what they entail and help you move forward in establishing the appropriate guardianship relationship between you and your family member.

New Jersey Guardianships

The state of New Jersey Department of Human Services defines a guardian as “a person or agency appointed by a court to act on behalf of an individual.” That individual being cared for under this definition is known as a “ward.”

Two types of guardianships of a person exist under New Jersey law. These include:

  • A general guardianship, also referred to as “plenary” guardianship. This type of guardianship is designed for individuals who are deemed to be incapable of “making or expressing any decisions.” This would be an option for an elderly adult in the more advanced stages of serious cognitive decline from dementia or Alzheimer’s or a developmentally disabled adult child whose mind has not matured enough to make rational decisions and understand their consequences.
  • A limited guardianship for those individuals who have the capacity to make some but not all decisions. This guardianship would allow the guardian to make decisions concerning where the person may live, go to school, or work, his or her medical care, legal matters, and financial matters.

In order to establish a guardianship for an individual, court proceedings are necessary. New Jersey law requires that you must demonstrate the person’s lack of capacity. This requires certifications from medical professionals who have made an examination and evaluation of the individual within 30 days of filing a guardianship petition. Any interested party can seek to establish a guardianship by filing a petition. This can include spouses, parents, adult children, or other family members or even nursing home facilities.

Once the court receives the necessary filings, certifications, and documentation, a hearing will be scheduled. Other interested parties may contest the matter or seek their appointment as a legal guardian through a counterclaim. It will be up to the court to decide if a guardianship is in the best interests of the potential ward and who should be appointed as his or her guardian.

Guardianship of an Estate

A second type of guardianship is a guardian of the estate or property. This guardian is in charge of handling the financial matters only of the protected person. They are not responsible for other decisions. These guardians would handle such matters as income, pensions, real estate holdings, stock portfolios, and other assets of the protected person’s estate. This type of guardian is only necessary when such an estate exists. In many cases, a guardian may be appointed as both a legal guardian for the person and for the person’s estate.

Regardless of the type of guardianship appointment is made, a legal guardian must perform his or her duties in good faith and for the best interests of the protected person. Failure to do so can result in legal action.

Simon, O’Brien, & Knapp Provides Experienced Legal Assistance

Regardless of the type of guardianship appointment you may be seeking, our firm can help. We recommend that you personally discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable attorneys who can answer your questions, educate you on the process, and help move your legal case forward.

Call us at (973) 604-2224 to learn more about how we can help today.

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