What You Need to Know about Guardianships

September 30, 2023


Guardianships play a significant role in the realm of estate planning. If you’re in a situation where a guardianship is necessary for a family member or loved one, you might be wondering about the essential details and information required to initiate the process. Today’s blog post addresses these inquiries and more.

What Does Guardianship Entail, and Why is it Significant?

Guardianship, occasionally referred to as conservatorship, is a legally binding arrangement wherein the court designates an individual to manage the financial, medical, and legal decisions of another person if the latter is deemed incapable of making these decisions independently.

The appointment of such a guardian is crucial as it safeguards the rights and assets of the individual in question.

Types of Guardianships

  • Guardianship of the Person

In this type of guardianship, an appointed individual is responsible solely for overseeing the healthcare decisions of the individual.

  • Guardianship of the Estate

Guardianship of the estate entails the appointment of an individual responsible exclusively for managing the financial assets, often referred to as the estate, of the person in question.

  • Guardianship of Both the Person and Estate

This category of guardianship involves a designated individual who takes on the responsibility of overseeing both the individual’s healthcare and financial needs comprehensively.

Appointment of Guardians in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the selection of a legal guardian is typically based on the principle of next of kin. However, this is not an absolute rule.

When an individual requiring guardianship lacks immediate family members, or if none of the next of kin are willing to assume the role, the Surrogate Court in the individual’s county of residence will step in to make the appointment. In such cases, the Surrogate Court often designates a qualified professional, frequently an attorney with prior experience as a professional guardian.

Initiating and Securing Approval for a Guardianship

To commence the process of establishing and obtaining court approval for a guardianship, several essential documents and evidence must be provided.

  • Medical Certification

It is imperative to furnish the court with a certification from the individual’s healthcare provider. This certification should attest to the individual’s mental or physical condition, indicating their inability to manage their own healthcare and financial matters independently. The certification serves as the foundation for justifying the necessity of guardianship.

  • Case Information Sheet

Prepare a comprehensive case information sheet that includes all relevant details pertaining to both the individual and the guardianship proceedings. This document offers a thorough overview of the situation and helps the court understand the context of the guardianship.

  • Property and Income Inventory

A comprehensive list enumerating all the individual’s property and income must also be submitted. This inventory is crucial for assessing the individual’s financial situation and planning for their care.

Consult a Fort Lee Estate Planning Attorney in New Jersey

Initiating a guardianship for your loved one can present complexities, but it often serves as the most effective means to safeguard their financial and healthcare interests. The seasoned estate planning attorneys of Choi Law Firm in New Jersey are dedicated to assisting clients with a wide range of services, including guardianships, wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents.

We proudly serve clients across various regions, including Bergen County, Hudson County, Queens County, NY, Long Island, and throughout both New Jersey and New York. You can reach out to us at any time by calling 201-482-4825 or by filling out our confidential online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our primary office is situated at 1372 Palisade Avenue, 2nd Floor, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, and we also maintain offices in Bayside, NY.

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