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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes a child in New Jersey is born with a developmental disability that will make it impossible for them to ever care for themselves independently. The parents of these children love their child, but it is likely that their child will outlive them. That being said, even disabled individuals, at age 18, have reached the age of legal majority, in which their parents cannot make legal decisions for them. In these cases, however, parents may choose to name a person or agency as a guardian of the child, to make decisions on the child's behalf.
The primary goal of estate planning is to ensure that your loved ones are cared for after you pass away. This is especially important if those you care for have special needs, and you (or a spouse or sibling) are the primary caretaker. These loved ones could be young children or even adults with physical or mental disabilities.