Red Bank Professional Guardianship Lawyer
When loved ones are not capable of managing their affairs, there are certain legal steps you can take to ensure their wellbeing. Whether you are to seeking to establish a guardianship for an aging parent or to provide financially for a disabled child, Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC can help. With more than 20 years of legal experience, we understand the intricacies of the New Jersey probate law and the guardianship processes. We take the time to listen to your concerns, explain your legal options, and guide you every step of the way. For a consultation with an experienced elder law and estate planning attorney, contact Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC.
What is a guardianship?
A guardianship is a legal arrangement under which one person (the “guardian”) is appointed by the court to care for another person (the “ward”). The ward can be an incapacitated adult or a minor child. Several types of guardianships exist, including:
- Guardianships of the person: The guardian is authorized to make personal and medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual, including living arrangements and medical treatment.
- Guardianships of the property: The guardian is granted financial decision-making power on behalf of an incapacitated individual, such as managing bank accounts and paying expenses.
- Limited guardianship: The powers of the guardian are limited by court order.
- General guardianship: The guardian is awarded full decision-making authority in all areas of the individual’s life.
To determine if a guardianship meets your needs, it is advisable to consult with an experienced elder law attorney. Alternatives include durable powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, special needs trusts and conservatorships, and we can explore any of these with you at the law office of Margaret M. Mahon, Esq. LLC.
What is the process for establishing a guardianship in New Jersey?
While anyone can seek a guardianship, a New Jersey court must approve it. To establish a guardianship, a person must be certified by two New Jersey physicians as unable to make these necessary personal decisions. Working with a guardianship lawyer should help you ensure you take the proper steps to get an approval.
While any interested person can be appointed guardian, priority is generally given to close relatives, such as spouses, parents, children and adult siblings. These family members and the ward must also be given notice of any guardianship petition. After the guardianship petition is filed, the court appoints a lawyer to represent the interests of the incapacitated individual. The advocate’s job is to meet with the potential ward and evaluate the suitability of a guardianship and the proposed guardian. If the lawyer or other family members oppose the guardianship, the court holds a hearing to determine whether a guardianship is in the person’s best interests. Once finalized, the guardian receives official letters of guardianship confirming the legal relationship and outlining any limitations of the guardian’s authority.
What is the role of a guardian?
In most cases, the guardian’s primary duty is to make personal, medical and financial decisions. The specific duties of a guardian may include:
- Ensuring that the individual’s physical, emotional and developmental needs are met
- Making decisions regarding the individual’s living arrangements
- Authorizing medical and dental care, including surgery
- Managing retirement accounts, pensions, and other finances
- Paying bills and filing tax returns
In carrying out these duties, the guardian has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the incapacitated individual. The court supervises the activities of the guardian and requires periodic updates and accounting of the ward’s estate.
Contact our firm
Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC has the knowledge and skills needed to handle complex New Jersey guardianships. To schedule an initial consultation with a professional guardianship lawyer, contact our firm. We offer flexible office hours upon request and can travel to meet clients who cannot make it to our Red Bank office.