Understanding Your Powers and Duties as a Court Appointed Guardian

Now That You’re The Court Appointed Guardian, Here Is A Summary of Your Duties and Powers Under NJ Guardianship Law

Let’s Discuss the Ongoing Nature of the Guardianship Relationship After the Entry of a Judgment of Guardianship

Once you’ve been appointed as the legal guardian of another person, you have almost total decision-making authority over that person’s life and matters relating to it, except for the power to make a will, file for divorce, transfer assets and income, and permit a marriage in the absence of further court approval.

The duties and powers of the Guardian are identified in New Jersey statutes and court rules. The state has prepared an instructional guide for proposed and appointed guardians which is available from NJ judiciary.

A guardian is not legally obligated to financially support the ward from his or her personal funds, is not generally liable to a third person for the actions of the ward solely because of being a guardian of another, 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 act in the ward’s best interest, including where practicable consistent with a previously executed power of attorney, health care directive and living will, unless any of those documents have been modified or revoked by the court.

If you have been appointed as a limited guardian, your judgment of Limited Guardianship will specify the limitations upon your authority as guardian, or alternatively, identify the areas of decision-making retained by the incapacitated person. Otherwise, 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 theft, and/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 (i.e., sale of home or major assets, payment of extraordinary expenses);
    • If requested, provide proof that adequate residential and personal health care arrangements for the ward have been made, that enough 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.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

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 fniemann@hnlawfirm.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