A guardianship is when the court appoints a person or agency (a guardian) to make personal and financial decisions for an individual who cannot make decisions independently. When a person turns 18, their parents can no longer make legal decisions for them, so a guardianship is a way to ensure that an incapacitated loved one has a trusted person in charge of their affairs.
The Bureau of Guardianship Services (BGS), a division of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, outlines a six-step process for pursuing guardianship, as outlined below:
- Identify a proposed guardian or co-guardians: A guardian can be a family member or another interested party. More than one person can also be appointed as a guardian, but generally, three or fewer are permitted to ensure decisions can be made on a timely basis.
- Complete a psychological evaluation: An up-to-date assessment from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical doctor licensed in the State of New Jersey is required to verify the need for a guardian and, if so, which type of guardianship is needed (General or Limited).
- Receive a court recommendation: The Bureau of Guardianship Services will send a Certificate of Acceptance of Guardianship form to the proposed guardian(s). The guardianship candidates must fill out the paperwork, get them notarized, and return them to the court.
- File paperwork with the court: Once the paperwork is filed, the court will schedule a date with all interested parties. A Public Advocate will conduct an interview and submit their findings and recommendation for guardianship.
- Conduct a hearing (if necessary): A hearing is only required if a Public Advocate opposes the ruling. If so, the court will hold a hearing, which occurs in front of a judge who issues a ruling.
- Obtain a court judgment: Lastly, the court will appoint or deny a guardian, sending out Letters of Guardianship.
The expert guardianship lawyers at Bozanian McGregor can assist you in applying for guardianship in New Jersey. We have the knowledge and extensive experience needed to help guide you through the frequently complex guardianship process. We’ll be there for you every step of the way, from applying to defending and protecting your guardianship if you are accused of violating your duties as a Guardian. If you are looking to establish a legal guardianship of an incapacitated loved one, contact Bozanian McGregor today.