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Guardianships (What You Need to Know)

January 15, 2023

Guardianships (What You Need to Know)

Guardianships are an important part of estate planning. If your loved one needs a guardianship, you may have questions about what exactly it is and what you need to provide your lawyer with in order to get started. 

It’s these questions and more that we answer in today’s blog post:

What is a Guardianship? And Why Does it Matter?

A guardianship, sometimes also known as a conservatorship, is a binding, legal agreement in which an individual is appointed by the court to handle another person’s financial, medical, and legal decisions if they have been deemed unfit to make decisions on these matters by themselves. 

Having someone appointed to this role is important because it ensures that the individual’s rights and assets are protected. 

Types of Guardianships 

There are three main types of guardianships: 

  • Guardianship of the person – This refers to an appointed person who is only responsible for managing the individual’s healthcare and nothing else. 
  • Guardianship of the estate – This refers to an appointed person who is only responsible for managing the person’s financial assets (aka their estate).
  • Guardianship of both the person and estate – This is when the appointed person will be responsible for all of the individual’s healthcare and financial needs. 

Who Can be Appointed a Guardian in New Jersey?

In most cases, the next of kin will usually be appointed a legal guardian. However, this isn’t always the case. 

If an individual who needs protection does not have a next of kin, or if none of them wish to serve, then the Surrogate Court in the county in which the individual resides, will appoint someone to the role. This is usually an attorney who has served as a professional guardian in the past. 

What You Need to Get a Guardianship Approved and Started

In order to get a guardianship approved and started, you’ll need to present specific evidence to the court. This includes a certification from the individual’s doctor that their mental or physical condition prohibits them from being able to manage their own healthcare and financial affairs, and as a result, guardianship is necessary. 

In addition to this certification, you’ll also need a case information sheet that outlines all the details of the individual and the guardianship, as well as a list that details all of the individual’s property and income. 

Dealing with guardianship in New Jersey can be complex. A skilled attorney can help you go over all the forms you’ll need to present to the court, as well as help you file them.

Contact a Fort Lee Estate Planning Attorney for a Consultation in New Jersey

Starting a guardianship for your loved one can be complex, but it is often the best way to make sure their financial and healthcare needs are protected. The experienced New Jersey estate planning attorneys at Choi Law Firm assist clients with guardianships, wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. We represent clients in Bergen County, Hudson County, Queens County, NY, Long Island, and throughout New Jersey and New York. Call us anytime at 201-482-4825 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation. Our main office is located at 1372 Palisade Avenue, 2nd Floor, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, and we also have offices located in Bayside, NY.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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