Guardianships are no small matter.
You value your independence.
You enjoy making your own decisions, whether it be the use of your finances or what you do on a given day.
These fundamental rights are yours alone and are safeguarded at the very core of our legal system.
What if you ever become unable to make you own decisions due to an injury or illness?
What if you become "legally" incapacitated?
Click over to a recent nj.com article titled “Worried someone may want to be your guardian? Here's what you need to know,” for a quick overview.
A guardianship is granted by a judge for minors or incapacitated adults.
Application for a guardianship must be made through the court of the county where the minor or incapacitated individual resides or holds property.
If a guardianship is found to be necessary, the judge will appoint a guardian.
Can guardianships end?
If the minor turns 18, the guardianship no longer stands.
If the incapacitated individual regains full or partial competency, the guardianship may be limited or terminated.
The individual must apply for this limitation of guardianship with the courts.
Are there different types of guardianships?
Yes, there are.
The first is guardianship of the person.
What does this mean?
The guardian will be limited to making medical or other similar decisions for the individual and his or her property.
The second is a limited guardianship.
What does this entail?
The guardian is appointed and restricted to only certain decisions.
For example, the guardian may only be allowed to make financial decisions.
The third type is a "plenary" guardianship.
This type grants the guardian the most authority.
He or she will have the authority to address any and all issues in the life of the incapacitated individual.
What happens when a guardian is appointed specifically over the property of an incapacitated individual?
The property is often retitled to the name of the guardian for the benefit of the incapacitated individual.
What does this do?
It grants notice of the guardianship to third parties.
Can someone petition for guardianship behind your back?
Most likely no.
For example, New Jersey law requires that the incapacitated person be given notice and legal representation for the proceedings.
Are this proceedings public?
The details are not.
They often include private and sensitive information from physicians.
However, basic information like the name of the incapacitated person and the guardian should be made available to the public.
This will help creditors or others to know the legal point of contact for situations involving the incapacitated individual.
Reference: nj.com (August 24, 2018) “Worried someone may want to be your guardian? Here's what you need to know”