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.
In New Jersey there are two types of guardianship of the person. The first is general guardianship. This is also known as “plenary” guardianship. Many people have determined that this type of guardianship is a sound option if the adult child is completely unable to express any opinion or make any decision.
The second type of guardianship in New Jersey is limited guardianship. This type of guardianship covers decisions made with regards to where the person will live and go to school, as well as decisions related to the person’s medical care, legal decisions, work decisions and financial decisions. This type of guardianship may be a good choice for adult children who can express some opinions or make some decisions, but not all.
Keep in mind that whether one chooses general guardianship or limited guardianship, that establishing guardianship means the person’s fundamental right of self-determination is taken away. However, when it comes to an adult with severe developmental disabilities, guardianship may be necessary. New Jersey residents who want to appoint a guardian over their adult child may want to first consult with an attorney so they can make informed decisions.