When you engage in estate planning in New Jersey, it can be beneficial to devote some thought to children and adults with diminished capacity, as they may have difficulty managing the assets that you plan to leave them. Even if a testator did not appoint a guardian in their will, the state of New Jersey might be able to appoint one after the fact.

However, choosing which type of guardianship or power of attorney is appropriate for your situation can be difficult without a qualified attorney’s assistance. An adept New Jersey guardianship lawyer might be able to help you with this process and ensure your inherited property is administered according to your wishes.

Child Guardians in New Jersey

A parent who leaves behind a child in the state of New Jersey after their death may be able to select a representative to supervise their maintenance and education. Under New Jersey Revised Statutes §3B:12-23, a court may also appoint a guardian of the person, a guardian of the estate, or both.

When a parent becomes incapacitated, a New Jersey court might also select a kinship legal guardian. This type of surrogate parent differs from a guardian of the estate or guardian of the person in that a petitioner must undergo a caregiver assessment before taking the child into their home.

According to N.J.R.S. §3B:12A-6, while appointing a kinship legal guardian, the court may consider the wishes of the parents and the child and the suitability of the petitioner to raise a child. A New Jersey guardianship attorney could offer further guidance about how the court would likely approach this responsibility in a particular situation.

Durable Power of Attorney Versus Guardian for an Incapacitated Party

Although both an agent with a durable power of attorney and a guardian may act on behalf of a person with diminished capacity, the terms of these position sare somewhat different. An individual who is engaging in estate planning may sign a durable power of attorney to a trusted person who could act on their behalf even after they are unable to act on their own behalf.

Alternatively, a New Jersey court may appoint either a general or a limited guardian, depending on whether a person with diminished capacity can still perform some actions on their own. In cases where there is doubt about whether a party has become incapacitated, a judge is authorized to rule on issues of incapacity.

A testator or parent may indicate that they would like to assign separate duties to one guardian of the person and a different guardian of the estate. When there are two distinct representatives, there might be checks and balances that a skilled guardianship lawyer in New Jersey could explain in further detail.

Call a New Jersey Guardianship Attorney Today

If you would like to plan ahead and make sure that your choice of guardian for yourself or your child is set down in writing, it might be a good idea to make an appointment at a local law office. By speaking with a skilled attorney, you may be able to better clarify which type of guardian or power of attorney might be best in your situation.

An experienced New Jersey guardianship lawyer could answer your questions and get you started on appointing a guardian. Call today to schedule an initial appointment.