Paramus Guardianship Lawyers Help You Protect Your Loved Ones
Sound advice for situations involving minor children and vulnerable adults
If you have a loved one you are responsible for, you can’t help but wonder what would happen to that person if you weren’t around. On the other hand, you might feel responsible for a loved one but not have the legal authority to act on their behalf. With either situation, the highly professional attorneys at Whitlock Canter LLC in Paramus are prepared to help. Our extensive experience in estate planning and elder law prepares us to deliver the reliable guidance you need in establishing a guardianship.
Becoming the guardian of a vulnerable adult
If you have an elder loved one who is losing the capacity to manage finances, make decisions, or act for his or her own welfare, you can ask the court to appoint you as that person’s guardian. And if you have a child with developmental disabilities who is about to reach the age of majority, you can request a guardianship to maintain legal authority over your child.
In New Jersey, you can request a general guardianship or a limited guardianship. If your loved one is not capable of making sound decisions, you want the general guardianship. If your loved one needs assistance in certain areas, such as finances, healthcare, or legal decisions, you can request a limited guardianship covering only those areas.
The court must approve the guardianship, and the person who would be your ward has the right to counsel and can oppose the imposition of the guardianship, which could mean a contested hearing in court. This is one of the reasons we recommend older adults execute power of attorney documents while they are of sound mind. That way, when they start to lose capacity, their trusted agents can exercise the power that’s been given to them.
Placing guardianship provisions for your children in your will
Parents of minor children can make provisions in their will naming someone to be appointed the guardian if something should happen to them. However, only the court can appoint a guardian, so your designated person must apply to the court. The court can withhold approval in the best interests of the children, but judges generally give great deference to a parent’s choice of guardian, especially when there is a pre-existing relationship.
Guardianship of a minor can be divided in two parts and assigned to separate people:
- Guardian of the person — A responsible adult to raise the child and look out for the ward’s welfare
- Guardian of the estate — A responsible party to manage finances for the benefit of the ward.
Naming a guardian in your will to protect those who depend upon you is an essential part of careful estate planning. We can help you make arrangements that offer you and your loved ones peace of mind.
Contact our Paramus law firm for help with guardianships
Whitlock Canter LLC provides reliable estate planning services throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City, including assistance establishing guardianships. To schedule a consultation, give us a call today at 201-397-1188 or contact us online.