By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Guardianship Attorney
I was recently contacted by a family who lives out of state but wants to petition for guardianship of their mother. Mom is currently living with a sibling who is her Power of Attorney (POA) and Healthcare representative. The family believes mom is a risk at home and needs to be placed in assisted living for dementia however their brother refuses to have her evaluated and in the past has locked family members, including a physician, out of the house when they visit.
The question raised was if a court can compel mom to be evaluated. Are there any methods one can utilize to allow guardianship to take place? In this case the family called Adult Protective Services on their brother but they have told him that all they can do is send the police to do a wellness check.
New Jersey law has addressed this situation. I run into it all the time. One needs to hire a doctor to do the evaluation at home. If he/she is refused entry by the brother, an affidavit to this effect can be prepared and filed with the court to generate pleadings for a guardianship and ask in the Order to Show Cause that the Court direct the brother to submit the mother for evaluation by doctors.
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