To file for guardianship, one must obtain two separate evaluations of the alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”), completed by either two medical doctors or one medical doctor and a psychologist.  These professionals meet with the AIP and complete a Certification and Report attesting to whether they believe the individual lacks capacity.

The reports of both examining physician(s) and/or psychologist are filed with the Court as part of the guardianship proceeding. 

In addition to the Certification and Report of examining physicians, the proposed guardian also files the following:

  1. Case Information Statement
  2. Order Fixing Guardianship Hearing Date and Appointing Attorney for AIP
  3. Verified Complaint
  4. Certification of Assets and Income
  5. Certification of Criminal and Civil Judgment History; and
  6. Any other supporting Certifications needed (ie. Certification in Support, Certification of Proposed Guardian, etc.)

Hearing Date/Appointment of Court Appointed Counsel

Once the Court reviews the pleadings, the clerk delivers a signed and filed Order Fixing Guardianship Hearing Date and Appointing an Attorney for the AIP. 

The Order contains the date and time for the hearing before the presiding Judge.  It also appoints an attorney for the Alleged Incapacitated Person as everyone is entitled to legal representation.

Court Appointed Counsel

The Court Appointed Attorney (“CAA”) is appointed to represent the AIP and advocates for the best interests of the AIP.

The CAA meets with the AIP and prepares a report as to her findings.  She often meets with and interviews family and friends of the AIP to obtain a complete overview of the AIP.  Moreover, the CAA ensures that the prospective Guardian is the appropriate person to act as such.

Guardian Training

Before one can be appointed as guardian, she must complete guardian training.

Guardian training consists of reviewing a guardianship training video and manuals provided by the Court.  Manuals cover the types of reports guardians must file yearly as well as the duties and responsibilities of the guardian of the person and estate.

Hearing

At the hearing, the Judge reviews all documents submitted in the case and hears from the parties.  If a party disagrees with the choice of guardian or the AIP’s capacity, the Court allows argument. Thereafter, the Court may require further examinations or the appointment of a guardian ad litem.  If there is no controversy, the Judge renders a decision as to whether the AIP is indeed appropriate for a guardian and whether the proposed guardian is suitable to act in such an important role.

If you have any questions about protecting an older loved one through a conservatorship or a guardianship or removing an existing guardian or conservator, please feel free to reach out to NJ Elder Law Center at Goldberg Law Group at 973-228-1795 or you can email contactus@njelc.com to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

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