Guardianship and Conservatorships
Posternock Apell, PC can help you with guardianship or conservatorship.
In some instances, a person who is incapacitated or developmentally disabled may need on-going support and supervision in making financial , medical and daily living decisions, or managing their affairs, even into adulthood. In other instances, mental illness and advanced age can make it impossible for a person to take care of themselves. Both children and parents are sometimes in need of assistance with basic life decisions. An experienced South Jersey estate planning attorney can protect the legal interests of your loved ones, regardless of their age.
One of our experienced New Jersey guardianship and estate planning attorneys at Posternock Apell, PC will be happy to speak with you and discuss your options. We will give you the information you need to determine if a guardianship or conservatorship is appropriate in your case. Protecting the interests of your loved ones is an important task and we are committed to helping you make the best decisions for your family.
Why you may want to consider a guardianship or conservatorship and how we can help:
Guardianship: When a child with a developmental disability reaches the age of 18 in New Jersey, they are legally considered an adult. As their parent, you are no longer legally in charge of their decisions, regardless of the fact that you may feel they are not able to make quality decisions on their own. A legal guardianship ensures you will be able to continue to care for and protect your child after they turn 18.
With respect to older individuals, traumatic brain injuries, severe strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and dementia can afflict the elderly and deprive them of their ability to take care of themselves. A guardianship can protect their financial well-being and ensure your family’s financial security. Older people frequently get guardians, as well.
Conservatorship: A conservatorship is when a person can physically take care of himself, but not financially. That is pretty rare. Usually, people need both a guardian of the person and a guardian of the property.
What is a legal guardianship?
A legal guardianship is an involuntary proceeding in which a person is adjudicated incompetent and they no longer have the legal right to make certain decisions for themselves.
There are two main types of guardianship:
General guardianship – This is also known as plenary guardianship. This type of guardianship might be necessary if the individual is entirely incapable of making any decisions and is completely lacking in the capacity to govern themselves or manage their financial affairs.
Limited guardianship – This type of guardianship is limited to decisions about finances, residence, education, medical issues, legal issues, and work issues.
We can help you determine what type of guardianship will best suit your needs and the needs of your loved one. We will also help you understand the different implications involved.
Another type of guardianship is a temporary guardianship, also known as pendent lite (or “awaiting the litigation”).
When you seek guardianship in NJ Superior Court, your attorney can structure your request in such a way as to obtain temporary guardianship of the individual and/or the estate. You will need to show good cause for the temporary guardianship. This typically means there is a critical need for guardianship in order to minimize the risk of substantial harm to the physical or mental health, safety, and well-being of the individual.
Regardless of what type of guardianship you seek, the skilled lawyers at Posternock Apell, PC can help you obtain all necessary forms and certifications. You will need an up-to-date behavioral assessment from either a New Jersey licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, or from a licensed medical doctor.
We will assist you in completing the application, including paperwork detailing the value of all real estate and property owned or controlled by the incapacitated person; property in which the incapacitated person might have a future interest; accounting documents; and tax returns.
If you are appointed as guardian, we will help you understand what that entails, including any responsibilities and legal duties you have. For example, you will probably be required to submit annual reports to the court concerning your care for the incapacitated person and/or your management of the estate.
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a voluntary proceeding in which a competent person elects to allow someone else to make financial decisions on their behalf. A conservator manages the estate of a person who is unable to effectively manage their own property or business affairs. This can be particularly crucial when it comes to the drafting of a person’s will.
If you agree to become a conservator, the court will require you to post a bond to ensure that you perform obligations dictated by the conservatorship appropriately and with fiduciary responsibility. Also, the conservatee (the person whose affairs are being managed) can object to having a particular person assume the caregiver role and can terminate the agreement at any time.
The experienced estate planning lawyers at Posternock Apell, PC can make the guardianship process as easy as possible for you. You are understandably focused on making sure your loved one’s interests are protected. So are we.
The guardianship/conservatorship process in New Jersey is complicated. Our lawyers have helped countless South Jersey residents, like you, and we are prepared to prioritize your family’s needs immediately. Call the experienced guardianship and estate lawyers at Posternock Apell, PC today for a free phone consultation. You can reach us by phone, or you can simply fill-out our online contact form to schedule a meeting in our Browns Mills or Moorestown office.