By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Guardianship Attorney
There are two primary types of guardianships in New Jersey – guardianships for children and guardianships for incapacitated adults. This discussion will address guardians and conservators for incapacitated adults, which includes (1) adults of any age with developmental disabilities over age 18 and (2) adults with cognitive and/or physical impairment due to age or illness.
An “incapacitated person” is an adult who has been found by a court to be incapable of understanding the naure and effect of decision making and/or responding to people, events, or environments to such an extent that the individual lacks the capacity to (i) meet the essential requirements for his health, care, safety, or therapeutic needs without the assistance or protection of a guardian or (ii) manage property or financial affairs or provide for his or her support or for the support of his legal dependents without the assistance or protection of a conservator. A finding that the individual displays poor judgment, alone, is not sufficient evidence that the individual is an incapacitated person within the meaning of this definition.
A “guardian” is a person appointed by the court and is responsible for the financial and/or personal affairs of an incapacitated person, including responsibility for making decisions regarding the person’s support, care, health, safety, habilitation, education, therapeutic treatment, and residence. A guardianship in New Jersey may be a full guardianship or a limited guardianship (when decisions are needed only for specific matters), or a temporary guardianship.
A “conservator” is a person appointed by the court who is responsible for managing the estate and financial affairs of an incapacitated person. A conservatorship in New Jersey may be a total conservatorship, a limited conservatorship (when financial assistance is needed only for specific matters), or a temporary conservatorship.
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