South Jersey Guardianship Attorney

In New Jersey, in the case of guardianship, the court will provide someone with the legal authority to make certain life decisions for a loved one who may be unable to make those decisions on their own.  Depending on the situation, different Guardianships may apply. Because Guardianship can be both an important responsibility and complicated to establish, a New Jersey Guardianship Attorney can assist you through the process.  Whether you may be petitioning or opposing a guardianship within the state of New Jersey, seeking legal advice is a wise choice.

At Ergood Law, we can determine what type of guardianship is most appropriate for you, your loved one and their situation. We will take on not only the responsibilities associated with filing for guardianship, but also help you understand what it all means and the impacts it will have on you as a guardian and on your loved one.  We will file the guardianship petition and help to establish guardianship within New Jersey based on the laws and regulations of the state. We will define the duties of the guardian while helping you understand what that may mean to you, your life and your loved one. As each year comes and goes, we will can assist you with annual accountings that will be required by the court each year.  Should the situation arise, we will also assist with representation of the guardian in court related matters, including any filings to expand the guardian’s powers or protecting assets to help maintain the government benefits that may be available for the guardian’s loved one for which they are responsible.

As experienced guardianship attorneys, our main focus is to help our NJ clients in the South Jersey region establish the oversight and legal rights they require as a guardian.  We work with our clients to understand their situation and ensure that both the guardian and their loved one are considered when establishing guardianship. By contacting us today, you can get the process started and begin to gain that piece of mind to know that you and your loved one be protected.  Call us today at 856-266-9525 or contact us online.

A Guardianship Lawyer Can Help Explain the Basics

Understanding what it means to be a guardian, who may require one and their responsibilities can be a daunting task.  A guardianship lawyer is a great resource to help you understand options, what implications they may have and what steps are needed to become a legal guardian.

What is a Guardian?

A guardian is appointed by the court to oversee the management and decision making of the rights and property interests of a minor or someone who can be classified as incapacitated or at risk due to the fact they cannot manage their own affairs. That risk could be their inability to properly feed themselves, take care of themselves physically, maintain their health, find and keep up with housing or properly tend to financial management.

Someone may require a guardian for a number of reasons. They may be elderly and have age-related mental or physical handicaps such that they can no longer take care of themselves. It may be a younger person that is left without a parent to provide care or guidance to them. Quite possibly, someone of any age may suffer an accident or fall victim to a debilitating disease, mental incapacity or substance abuse.

How Is Someone Appointed a Guardian?

The process begins by filing a petition in the New Jersey court system.  This petition is usually filed by a spouse or family member and all parties will receive notice of the petition, including the person who will potentially be receiving the guardian.  The court will appoint an attorney to represent them. Two physician will examine this individual and provide a written report that provides their perspective to the court on their physical and mental condition.

The next step is a formal hearing at which the court will determine whether guardianship is necessary at the time and, if so, the court will then appoint a guardian.  The court will set the parameters for the guardianship that is based on the interests and needs of the dependent that will receive the guardian.

Meanwhile, the guardian will have responsibilities throughout their time as caretaker, having to provide periodic reports to the court that will document the physical and mental condition of the dependent loved one and the perspective on whether guardianship should continue.

Is Guardianship Required?

A legal guardian may be any person, a grandparent or other relative or a non-family member such as a family friend or foster parent.  When caring for a minor, the time period for care may dictate the necessary legal process. For instance, grandparents or other relatives that are caring for a child on a short-term basis may only require a legal power of attorney from the child’s parents and not full-fledged guardianship.

Conservatorship is a process where the New Jersey court appoints a conservator to make financial decisions for a minor or incapacitated adult who may be unable to manage their own affairs.  A conservatorship may be established due to mental deficiency or illness, physical disability, disappearance or other factors such as drug or alcohol abuse.

The Benefits of an Experienced New Jersey Guardian Attorney

Guardianship can be complicated and an often misunderstood area of New Jersey law.  You may find that you have been asked or called to be the guardian of a minor or relative, but you only partially understand what the job actually requires or perhaps you were given inaccurate information.  You need to understand that your actions matter and making decisions could result in a breach of your responsibilities or fiduciary duty. You may innocently move the person over which you have guardianship to another state or you may do something to jeopardize their government benefits such as Medicaid.

Laura Ergood is a skilled South Jersey guardian attorney who takes the time to fully explain the guardian’s role and have a serious, in-depth conversation to cover the responsibilities associated with guardianship. Her goal is to help you fulfill your duties thoroughly, properly and in a way that avoids future legal conflicts or risk.

Some of the many responsibilities you have as a guardian likely include:

  • Controlling assets and being responsible for payment of living expenses and medical bills
  • Accounting to the court at least annually to ensure that you are within compliance with your guardianship responsibilities
  • Ensuring that your loved one’s wishes are considered and kept by healthcare providers, medical staffers and others of authority
  • Making sure that family members are kept abreast of key decisions made by you as guardian and providing any updates requested on mental, physical or financial well-being
  • Providing as much independence as possible while maintaining adequate medical care and access to assets

Laura works with her clients to ensure their confidence in her firm and their ability to represent them as guardians.  Our clients know we have their interests and the interests of their loved ones as a top priority and they respect our experience as New Jersey guardianship attorneys.  Ergood Law is renowned throughout the South Jersey and Cherry Hill areas. Laura has been recognized locally as one of the top lawyers by South Jersey Magazine each of the last three years.  She has the experience and knowledge to handle the most complex guardianship matters.

To find out more about guardianship, contact us today at 856-266-9525 to schedule a consultation and get the process started.