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New Jersey Guardianship Attorney

The guardianship process can be broken down into distinct steps. A guardianship lawyer will be able to guide you through them.

Experienced New Jersey Guardianship Attorney | NJ Elder Law & Guardianship Lawyer

Considering the future care needs of a loved one can be a daunting task for caregivers and family members. This could involve an elderly family member beginning to display signs of cognitive decline or a special needs child transitioning into adulthood. In such instances, guardianship provides a path to ensuring they receive the necessary care and support going forward. 

At Matus Law Group, our top-rated New Jersey guardianship attorneys are well-versed in the complexities of guardianship laws. Our team of seasoned attorneys is dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and services necessary to navigate these regulations effectively. Whether you’re seeking guardianship for a loved one or need assistance with existing guardianship arrangements, we’re here to help.

For over 20 years, NJ guardianship attorney Christine Matus and our New Jersey estate planning lawyers have offered the experience and compassion to help you each step of the way. We have created guardianships for elderly loved ones and family members with special needs. We may be able to help with your unique situation.

We understand the unique challenges and sensitivities that come with guardianship cases. Our team brings a wealth of experience, a client-centered approach, a strong commitment to protecting your rights, and a proven track record of success in guardianship cases.

Secure the best possible future for your loved ones with the help of a skilled attorney from Matus Law Group. Get in touch with us today for a consultation. Let us help you understand your options, guide you through the legal process, and work towards the best possible outcome for your loved ones. Your family’s welfare and peace of mind are our priority.

To schedule a consultation with an experienced guardianship attorney about estate planning or guardianship in our two convenient locations, Monmouth County, NJ, and Ocean County, NJ, call the Matus Law Group at (732) 281-0060

” I was blessed with the opportunity to sit with Christine and the Matus Law Group. Christine made certain to guide and answer my questions. Knowing how much she cared inspired me to do all I can for my family and myself. Christine’s gift of her time and strategy will forever be remembered and valued. Think about what’s most important to you and others and invest a bit of yourself to make it happen. “

Susan P.

What is Guardianship in NJ?

Guardianship is the legal process by which the court appoints a guardian to care for and make decisions for an incapacitated person. Through guardianship, the guardian has the ability and responsibility to make personal and financial decisions of the “ward” or the person requiring care. 

Guardianship may be required for an elderly individual who has become unable to make important decisions, a special needs family member who is coming of adult age, or a minor who does not have parental care. In each case, a guardian will exercise control over that person’s property, finances, and best interests.

In New Jersey, there are several types of guardianships to address different levels of need.

These include:

  • General Guardianship, which is comprehensive and covers all aspects of personal and financial decision-making for the ward.
  • Limited Guardianship, which is designed for individuals who can still manage some areas of their life but need help with specific decisions or tasks.
  • Pendente Lite (Temporary) Guardianship, a short-term arrangement when a ward’s well-being is in immediate danger and the court needs time to fully evaluate the case.

Establishing guardianship is not taken lightly by New Jersey courts. The legal threshold is high to ensure that guardianship is only granted when absolutely necessary. The court must be convinced that the proposed ward is unable to govern themselves or manage their affairs due to a disability, and that no other less restrictive alternatives, such as power of attorney or conservatorship, are appropriate or available. Because guardianship “removes a person’s fundamental right of self-determination,” according to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, it is always considered a last resort solution. 

Although guardianship and conservatorship are often used interchangeably, there are key differences under New Jersey law. A conservator is appointed to manage the financial affairs of a person who is physically incapacitated but still mentally competent, while a guardian is appointed to manage both the personal and financial affairs of a person who is unable to do so due to mental or physical incapacity. 

Understanding these complexities is key to ensuring that the rights and best interests of the vulnerable are upheld. As seasoned professionals in New Jersey guardianship law, our attorneys strive to provide compassionate and comprehensive legal support for those navigating these challenging situations.

To speak with experienced guardianship attorneys at Matus Law Group, call us today at (732) 281-0060.

We Are Here To Help

Guardianship attorney are invaluable in case of a contested estate. Whatever guardianship issues you are facing, we are here to help.

Call today to speak with a guardianship lawyer (732) 281-0060.

The Role of a Guardianship Attorney

The process of establishing guardianship can be complex, involving numerous legal steps and emotionally charged situations. This is where a guardianship attorney comes in. They play several crucial roles in navigating the guardianship process, making it as smooth and clear as possible for all parties involved. 

Guardianship is a serious responsibility and should only be considered when genuinely necessary. A guardianship attorney’s first role is to assess the need for guardianship. They will evaluate the potential ward’s mental and physical condition, their ability to make decisions, and whether there are any less restrictive alternatives that could achieve the same protective result. 

Once the need for guardianship is established, the attorney guides the proposed guardian through the legal process. This includes preparing and filing the necessary paperwork, such as the Verified Complaint, Order for Hearing, and Judgment of Incapacity and Appointment of Guardian. It also includes representing the proposed guardian at the court hearing. In New Jersey, navigating the guardianship process can be particularly complex due to the state’s stringent laws protecting the rights of the proposed ward. 

A crucial role of the guardianship attorney is to advocate for the proposed ward’s rights. This includes ensuring the ward’s interests are represented, their wishes are heard, and their rights are protected throughout the guardianship process. If appointed by the court, the attorney will act as the ward’s voice, ensuring the final decision aligns with their best interests. 

Guardianship cases often involve emotional family dynamics, which can lead to disputes. An experienced guardianship attorney can help facilitate discussions and mediations to prevent these disputes from escalating into drawn-out court battles. By fostering an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation, the attorney can help families reach an agreement that respects the wishes of the ward and serves their best interests.

A guardianship attorney is not just a legal professional; they are a guide, advocate, and mediator. They ensure that the proposed ward’s rights are protected, the family’s concerns are addressed, and the process of establishing guardianship is as smooth and efficient as possible. 

” I was very pleased with not only the service but also the support I received from The Matus Law Group.  Recently, I faced the daunting task of administering a relative’s estate.  I was unfamiliar with the probate process – the surrogate deemed the will invalid, there were no Class A beneficiaries,  a squatter needed to be ejected from the property, and the home was sold.  Maybe this wasn’t the largest or most complicated estate, but to me it was all so overwhelming.  Christine and her paralegal Kathleen were so professional and knowledgeable, and so very kind, as they guided me through the process.  I would highly recommend The Matus Law Group to anyone who needs counsel for estate, probate and real estate matters. “


The Guardianship Process in New Jersey

The guardianship process in New Jersey is a legal journey marked by careful assessments, detailed procedures, and the utmost respect for the rights of the parties involved. It’s designed to ensure that those who cannot care for themselves receive the protection and support they need. 

Initiating a guardianship case in New Jersey involves several nuanced steps. First, a petition must be filed with the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the alleged incapacitated person resides. This petition, known as the Verified Complaint, outlines reasons why the individual is believed to need a guardian. Medical certifications from two physicians or a single psychiatrist must accompany this petition, providing evidence of the person’s incapacity. 

Following the complaint, the court will set a hearing date and appoint an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person if they don’t already have representation.

Once appointed, guardians in New Jersey have a host of legal duties and responsibilities. They’re tasked with making critical decisions on behalf of the ward, which may include personal care decisions, financial management, and healthcare choices. A guardian must always act in the ward’s best interest and respect their rights and dignity. The guardian must also submit annual reports to the court detailing the ward’s condition and the actions taken on their behalf. 

Court hearings are a key part of the guardianship process. During these hearings, the judge listens to testimony, examines the evidence presented, and determines whether guardianship is necessary and in the best interest of the alleged incapacitated person. The court may also order an independent evaluation of the person to confirm their incapacity.

Any relative or responsible adult that the family has nominated may serve as a guardian but the State of New Jersey gives priority to the spouse first. If the spouse cannot or chooses not to act as a guardian, an adult child becomes next in line. There can also be co-guardians with equal decision-making power who must work together for the benefit of the incapacitated individual. Your lawyer will be able to discuss which family members are best suited for guardianship in your unique situation. 

Guardianship is not permanent and there is an annual review of whether the individual needs continued guardianship.

The court-appointed attorney plays a vital role in the guardianship process. They represent the alleged incapacitated person, protecting their rights and advocating for their best interests. This attorney will meet with the alleged incapacitated person, evaluate their situation, and represent them during court proceedings. If necessary, they can challenge the need for guardianship or advocate for a less restrictive alternative.

The guardianship process in New Jersey is designed to protect and uphold the rights of the most vulnerable individuals. It’s a careful, intricate procedure that ensures those who cannot care for themselves have someone to make critical decisions on their behalf, always with their best interests at heart. 

Get in touch:

The Matus Law Group is always here to help answer your questions – (732) 281-0060.

Will Your Loved One Need Guardianship?

Under the law in the State of New Jersey, an incapacitated individual who is unable to make decisions or understand the consequences of their actions, both physically and financially, should be under the care of a guardian.

In the case of an elderly individual or a special needs child with a disability who is becoming an adult, the court will appoint a guardian to be responsible for making important decisions regarding their care, finances, health, and safety. Before doing so, the court will require proof that the individual cannot meet their own needs. A guardianship attorney can advise and help guide family members who are considering guardianship through this process. 

A guardianship can be appointed for the estate, for the person, or both.

A guardian of the estate will handle all financial decisions whereas a guardian of the person will handle personal and medical decisions.

There can also be two or more individuals who have equal authority over the personal, medical, and financial matters of the ward.

When an elderly loved one reaches a point where they can’t manage their affairs due to health or cognitive issues such as strokes or dementia, a court application can be filed. This application enables a family member or trusted friend to oversee their financial matters and welfare. The appointed guardian then becomes responsible for making all personal and financial decisions on their behalf.

Guardianship can be established for the person’s estate, personal care, or both. A guardian of the estate manages financial decisions, while a guardian of the person oversees personal and medical decisions. It’s also possible for two or more individuals to share guardianship, maintaining equal authority over the ward’s personal, medical, and financial matters.

If you have an elderly loved one who may require a guardian, it’s crucial to seek the advice of a guardianship attorney knowledgeable in elder law. They can answer your questions and provide guidance tailored to your specific family member and unique circumstances. 

” I highly recommend working with Christine and her team. Very professional, knowledgeable and friendly. I look forward to working with them on many more transactions. “


Guardianship Lawyer Christine Matus Explains the Guardianship of a Special Needs Child

In New Jersey, turning 18 legally signifies adulthood. However, an individual with disabilities or special needs may lack the capacity to make decisions about health, finances, or other adult responsibilities. 

Parents of an adult child with a disability might wish to maintain control and decision-making capabilities. To legally do this, they need to be granted guardianship, making the child a ward of the guardian.

In New Jersey, any individual receiving state services from the Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities must undergo an evaluation before their 18th birthday. This assessment determines the adult child’s ability to live independently and make decisions on their own, deciding whether they require a guardian.

Even if your child doesn’t receive these services, you or another trusted party can petition the court for legal guardianship. The court’s decision will be based on the adult child’s disability and their comprehension and decision-making capabilities. If you’re navigating this process, a lawyer with a background in special needs family members can offer valuable assistance.

We Are Here To Help:

Call to speak with Christine Matus, guardianship lawyer today (732) 281-0060.

Guardianship Attorney Christine Matus Discusses Legal Authority and Powers of a Guardian

Undertaking the role of a guardian is a serious responsibility, and the courts do not grant guardianship lightly. Often, the appointed guardian must be bonded to safeguard against asset mismanagement or abuse. A lawyer can assist with this step and explain your duties and responsibilities.

As a guardian, you are required to:

  • Regularly visit your family member
  • Advocate for your loved one’s independence and seek their input whenever possible
  • Determine where your family member will live
  • Facilitate social interactions for your family member
  • Implement restrictions on your loved one’s freedoms or mobility if necessary
  • Regulate others’ visitation and contact with your loved one
  • Oversee your family member’s medical care
  • Manage your family member’s education
  • Handle all financial affairs
  • Safeguard the estate and conduct asset planning for your loved one
  • Fulfill various other responsibilities

At Matus Law, our team of experienced attorneys in guardianship law and estate planning can guide you through guardianship and conservatorship cases. We can also assist with other estate-related matters, like estate administration and probate.

For all your planning needs, contact Matus Law at (732) 281-0060 to consult with a proficient attorney in estate planning and guardianship.

Get in touch:

The Matus Law Group is always here to help answer your questions – (732) 281-0060.

General And Limited Guardianship In New Jersey

New Jersey offers two primary forms of guardianships: general and limited. 

A general guardianship is granted when an individual is incapable of making decisions or expressing their wishes. The guardian in this scenario has the authority to make decisions concerning all aspects of the person’s life, including medical treatment, financial matters, living arrangements, and other essentials of daily life. This type of guardianship is usually assigned for those who are developmentally disabled, incapacitated, or suffering from mental illnesses or dementia.

Limited guardianship, on the other hand, restricts the guardian’s authority to certain areas only. This type of guardianship is suitable when the individual can make some decisions but not all. For instance, a limited guardianship may allow the guardian to make educational, vocational, and medical decisions, but not financial or residential ones. This is particularly helpful for those who can make their own medical decisions but lack the capacity for financial or residential ones. Limited guardianships offer a balanced approach, protecting individuals with disabilities while preserving their autonomy and independence.

At Matus Law, Attorney Christine Matus and her team understand the importance of future planning for your loved ones. We can help you determine whether guardianship or conservatorship is the best course of action. Our knowledgeable estate planning lawyers can also assist with other estate matters such as wills and probate.

To arrange a consultation with our experienced legal team, get in touch with Matus Law today.

” Professional, Courteous & Caring are the words I would use to describe my experience with Christine & Jennifer. Jennifer was incredibly helpful throughout the entire process making sure that all paperwork and necessary transaction information was completed in a timely manner. “


What Does It Mean To Be a Guardian Or A Conservator in New Jersey?

There exist situations where legal guardianship might not be necessary or required. In such cases, appointing a legally recognized conservator could be a beneficial alternative for families when a member struggles to make financial decisions due to age or disability. A lawyer can guide you in making this decision. 

A conservatorship in New Jersey is more limited in scope compared to guardianship and requires the voluntary consent of the protected person. Despite being legally appointed by the courts, a conservatorship is only focused on managing financial matters when assistance is required.

Therefore, a conservator’s responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring timely payments for the family member’s upkeep and maintenance
  • Settling all debts owed by the family member
  • Collecting debts owed to the family member
  • Managing the loved one’s assets
  • Conducting tax and estate planning for the loved one

If you’re uncertain about the best option for your family, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced New Jersey conservatorship attorney to understand your available options. 

Experienced Guardianship and Estate Planning Lawyers at the Matus Law Group in New Jersey

If you have questions about whether legal guardianship or conservatorship is right for your situation and your loved one, Matus Law Group can help. Our compassionate team of New Jersey guardianship attorneys can answer your questions and guide you through the process, from the appointment of guardianship to administration and compliance. We can also help with matters concerning wills, the probate process, and estate planning.

Contact us at (732) 281-0060 for a consultation with the experienced NJ guardianship attorneys at Matus Law Group.

In addition to guardianships, our practice areas include estate planning, special needs lawyers, and many others. Office hours of the Matus Law Group are available in two convenient locations, including in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and Ocean County, New Jersey. 

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