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The Information You Need About Guardianships

Whether you are caring for a disabled adult or an elderly family member is starting to show signs of decline, you may need to address guardianship issues New Jersey.

The process of obtaining legal guardianship is complex, but there are other circumstances that make your situation challenging. You may be facing difficult emotions regarding your loved one, and other family members may present hurdles during the proceedings.

Equipped To Help You With This Sensitive Matter

At Giro & Associates LLC in River Edge, our lawyers are here to help you with all aspects of guardianship cases. We have been assisting clients in Bergen County and throughout the surrounding area for decades, so we have cultivated extensive experience in guardianship matters. Our attorneys will explain the legal options available regarding your loved one so that you can make informed, compassionate decisions.

Guardianship Duties

When an individual becomes incapacitated and cannot make responsible decisions regarding his or her safety and welfare, establishing guardianship is often an appropriate solution. There are two categories of guardianship duties:

  • A guardian of the person manages personal decisions regarding the ward, the legal term for the incapacitated individual. Responsibilities include coordinating the ward’s residence, arranging healthcare, determining proper treatments, and other personal matters.
  • A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the ward’s financial affairs, such as making decisions about expenditures, protecting income and assets, taking appropriate legal actions, handling insurance, maintaining property and similar matters.

One person may be appointed as guardian of the person and the estate, but two people may act where appropriate. A court may also appoint co-guardians to cover both areas. It is also possible that the ward may need one type of guardian, but not the other.

The Guardianship Process

Guardianship is a court proceeding initiated by filing a petition and supporting documents in the county where the incapacitated person resides. Any “interested party” may file a petition to be appointed as guardian, including a spouse, adult child, sibling or other immediate relative; a hospital or nursing home that has an interest in establishing guardianship may also do so.

The petition must include certifications from two physicians regarding the incapacity of the individual, based upon a medical examination that takes place no more than 30 days beforehand. The court sets the matter for hearing, at which point the petitioner must inform other interested parties. These individuals may contest guardianship or file a counter-petition for their own appointment.

Once someone is appointed as guardian of the person and/or estate, they are responsible for such duties as designated by law and the court. The guardian is also required to report to the court annually on the status of the ward.

Let Us Help You With Your Concerns

If you are facing guardianship issues regarding a developmentally disabled loved one, it is important to retain knowledgeable counsel to assist with your case. Giro & Associates LLC is with you every step of the way, from the petitioning process to annual reporting and related proceedings. From our River Edge office, we serve clients in New Jersey and New York.

Contact our team to get started. You can reach us online or at 201-771-9436.