Guardianship is a legal arrangement that allows one person (the guardian) to make decisions on behalf of another person (the incapacitated person) who is unable to make those decisions for themselves. It is a critical tool in ensuring the welfare and protection of vulnerable individuals who are incapacitated due to age, illness, disability, or other circumstances. A Court proceeding is always required to establish a guardianship.
In New Jersey, guardianship can take several forms — so what types exist, and which ones apply to your circumstances?
Types of guardianship
There are several types of guardianship in the US. The right guardianship for your needs depends on your own or a loved one’s circumstances.
Guardianship of the person
Guardianship of the person involves making decisions related to the incapacitated person’s personal care, such as medical treatment, housing, and education. This type of guardianship is typically sought when an individual cannot make sound decisions about their own well-being due to mental or physical incapacity.
For example, if an elderly person with dementia requires assistance with daily living activities and medical decisions, a guardian of the person may be appointed to ensure their needs are met.
Guardianship of the estate
Guardianship of the estate pertains to managing the financial affairs and assets of the incapacitated person. This type of guardianship is often necessary when an individual is unable to manage their finances or handle other kinds of financial, legal or business transactions due to cognitive impairment, disability, or other factors. A guardian of the estate may oversee income, expenses, investments, public benefits, and property on behalf of the individual.
Limited guardianship grants the guardian authority over specific aspects of the incapacitated person’s life. It is used when the individual is partially incapacitated but capable of making certain decisions independently. A limited guardian of the person might have control over some but not all personal or medical decisions. A limited guardian of the property might be allowed to handle some but not all financial matters. For example, a limited guardian of the property might only be authorized to sell the real estate owned by the individual. This approach aims to preserve the individual’s autonomy to the greatest extent possible while ensuring their safety.
Temporary guardianship is established for a defined period, often during emergencies or when immediate decisions are required. It grants a guardian temporary authority over the incapacitated person’s affairs until a more permanent arrangement can be made. Temporary guardianship can be crucial in situations where an individual’s well-being is at immediate risk.
We are a full-service elder law firm focused on assisting elderly or disabled individuals. If you believe that your loved one is incapacitated and requires the protection of a guardianship, meet with one of our attorneys for an in-depth assessment of the circumstances.
Get in touch with us to get the support and peace of mind you need today. Call 732-382-6070 for an appointment.