Now That You’re The Court Appointed Guardian, Here Is A Summary of Your Duties and Powers Under NJ Guardianship Law
The Ongoing Nature of the Guardianship Relationship After the Entry of a Judgment of Guardianship
Once a judgment is entered and you’ve been appointed as the guardian of another’s finances, you have full legal authority over the ward’s person and all matters relating to it, except for the power to make a will, file for divorce and permit a marriage in the absence of further court approval.
The duties and powers of the Guardian are set out in New Jersey statutes and court rules. The state has prepared an instructional guide for all proposed guardians which will be available once appointed by the court. Financially, a Guardian is not legally obligated to provide for the ward from his own funds, is not liable to a third person for acts of the ward solely by reason of the relationship, and is not liable for injury to the ward resulting from the wrongful conduct of a third person providing medical or other care or services, unless the Guardian did not exercise reasonable care in choosing the provider. A Guardian should, where practical and in the ward’s best interest, act consistently with a previously executed power of attorney for health care and living will, unless that document is altered or revoked by the court.
A judgment of Limited Guardianship will specify the limitations upon the authority of the guardian, or alternatively, the areas of decision-making retained by the person. Otherwise, generally speaking the guardian becomes the alter-ego of their ward and is the ultimate decision maker when decisions must be made.
What Are the Duties and Powers of a Court Appointed Guardian in New Jersey
Posting of a Surety Bond to Protect Against the Theft, Malfeasance and Laziness of the Guardian
During the guardianship process the court will fix the amount of any surety bond, to be posted by the Guardian. The bond must be issued by a licensed New Jersey insurance company in a form approved by the court. The bond is intended to protect the resources of the incapacitated person from any theft, malfeasance or poor performance by the guardian. If a person is contemplating being appointed a guardian, he or she should first determine if they are bondable. It’s not hard to find out and Hanlon Niemann and Wright can assist you in this process.
Accountability and Reporting Requirements by the Guardian to the Ward and the Court
Annually the guardian of the property must:
- Prepare an itemized inventory of the ward’s property, assets and income
- Disclose how and where the ward’s funds are invested so that they can be used for the ward’s support and benefit
- File an accounting with the County Surrogate’s Office of all income and expenses paid on behalf of the ward
- Apply to the court for approval of certain financial transactions (ie., sale of home or major assets, payment of extraordinary expenses)
- If requested, provide proof that adequate residential and personal health and care arrangements for the ward have been made, that sufficient health care and treatment has been provided, and that available educational and training programs have been made available, as needed.
Let Hanlon Niemann & Wright make your job as Guardian easier.
We’re here for you. If you have questions about the guardianship process and/or the legal responsibilities of the guardian to his/her ward in NJ, then please call our office today. We can help take over some of your responsibilities. Ask for Mr. Niemann to personally discuss your NJ Guardianship matter. Call toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
He welcomes your calls and inquiries and you’ll find him very approachable and easy to talk to.
Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, A New Jersey Guardianship Attorney