What Does the Law Require of a Guardian – Part 1

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Guardianship Attorney

What is the role of a guardian? The role of a guardian of an incapacitated person’s estate is largely statutory. N.J.S.A. 3B:12-36 -64 prescribe(s) a guardian’s powers to manage an incapacitate person’s estate. Under this statutory scheme, a guardian of an incapacitate person may:

Expend or distribute so much or all of the income or principal of his award for the support, maintenance, education, general use and benefit of the ward…, in the manner, at the time or times and to the extent that the guardian, in an exercise of a reasonable discretion, deems suitable and proper, taking into account the requirements of the “Prudent Investor Act”.

A guardian must also “take reasonable care of the ward’s clothing, furniture, vehicles and other personal effects and, where appropriate, sell or dispose of such effects to meet current needs of the ward” (a ward is the incapacitated person). Moreover, under the Prudent Investor Act, N.J.S.A. 3B:20-11.3(a), a guardian has a duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and caution, when investing or managing a trust or estate’s assets. In sum, when reviewing the guardian’s management of the estate of an incapacitated person, a court will evaluate and determine whether the actions of the guardian were in “the best interest of the ward.”

I will discuss this in further detail in Part 2 of my series.

To discuss your NJ Guardianship matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.