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Certified Elder Law Attorneys Serving New Jersey Residents Since 1978.

guardianships and conservatorships Archives

We assist with guardianship and power of attorney matters

It can be distressing to see an aging loved one become mentally unable to make decisions on their own behalf. A person may have a mental disorder like dementia or may be physically incapacitated, such as a person in a coma may be, that makes them unable to handle their affairs. People in New Jersey who have a loved one in such a situation may be concerned about who will make care and financial decisions on behalf of their incapacitated loved one.

What are the responsibilities of a court appointed guardian?

In New Jersey, a guardian of the person is an individual appointed by the court to make decisions and act on behalf of a person who cannot make decisions independently. A guardian of the person has certain responsibilities over the protected person.

When does the court appoint a guardian?

Sometimes, as a person ages, his or her mental or physical abilities deteriorate to the point that he or she becomes partially or totally incapacitated. Special needs children may also be incapacitated as adults. When this happens, a court appointed guardian may need to be selected to take care of the incapacitated person's affairs. However, state law defines what duties a guardian can fulfill.

A power of attorney may be preferable to a court-ordered guardian

Throughout our lifetimes, we will make many important financial decisions. From the first time we open a bank account as a teenager, to funding a retirement plan as a working adult, to making simple decisions about how to spend our hard-earned money, most people in New Jersey might take for granted the fact that they are in charge of their finances and can do with them what they think is important.

What are the duties of a court appointed guardian?

In New Jersey, there are steps a person must take before they can legally qualify as guardian of a person's estate. Once they qualify as guardian of the estate, there are certain things they must do. This post will provide a brief overview of this topic. However, it cannot be relied upon as legal advice, so those who want more information on guardianship of the estate will want to consult with an attorney.

Seeking help when guardianship is the only option

Sometimes, if a person in East Hanover is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's disease or has some other mental condition that renders them incapacitated, the only alternative available to them is guardianship. In fact, in New Jersey they only grounds upon which an individual can pursue guardianship over another individual is if that other individual is incapacitated. This is different than incompetency.

It is sometimes necessary to appoint a guardian to a child

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian over a child in New Jersey. This person has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, as long as the child is included in the decision-making process to the extent that they can be. A guardian is also responsible for making sure the child's needs are met and that the child's rights are not violated.

What should one know before pursuing a guardianship?

When a person in New Jersey reaches age 18, they will be considered to have reached the age of majority. This is true even if the person has a developmental disability. Once they are 18, their parents are no longer allowed to make decisions for them, even if the person is disabled or still resides with their parents. However, sometimes a person does not have the capability to make their own life choices. When this happens, parents might want to consider appointing a legal guardian for their child.

Families in New Jersey have options when it comes to guardianship

Sometimes, when a person in New Jersey can no longer handle their own affairs due to mental or physical incapacitation, it is necessary to have someone else manage their affairs for them. Guardianships may be an option, but they should be seen as a last resort, since once a guardianship is established, the incapacitated person loses their basic right to make decisions for themselves. Therefore, it is important for families in New Jersey to understand their options when it comes to guardianship.

Seeking help when guardianship is the only option

When a person in New Jersey suffers from dementia, Alzheimer's or some other mental condition that renders them incapacitated, sometimes the only option is to assign a legal guardian over that person. This is not something that should be rushed into, however. It is only an option if the allegedly incapacitated person is mentally unable to designate a power of attorney, or if they had a power of attorney but revoked it.

McHugh & Macri
49 Ridgedale Avenue
Suite 1
East Hanover, NJ 07936

Phone: 973-577-6010
Fax: 973-887-6237
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