Guardianship Attorney in Union City, New Jersey
Estate planning is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of people’s lives. Specifically, appointing a guardian in case of incapacitation or terminal illness is a major life decision.
Unfortunately, it can be easy to put off making crucial decisions. Since life can be unpredictable, it is critical to be prepared for anything. At the Hudson Law Firm, our team has the knowledge, resources, and practice to assist your specific situation. It is vital to speak with a guardianship attorney who can direct you toward the correct path. From our offices in Union City, New Jersey, we help people plan their estate. We use our skills to help Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and North Bergen residents protect themselves and their loved ones.
Understanding Guardianship in New Jersey
When most people think of guardianship, they imagine an adult taking care of a minor. While that is true, guardianship also extends to adults. Specifically, adult guardianship occurs when a person becomes incapacitated due to an accident, illness, or cognitive decline. As a result, the incapacitated individual can no longer make decisions for themselves.
Consider these situations:
An individual is involved in a serious car accident. They enter into a coma and are unresponsive. As a result, individuals cannot make decisions for themselves, including end-of-life ones.
A person contracts a contagious disease requiring hospitalization. Their condition worsens when they are put on mechanical ventilation. At this point, the individual becomes incapacitated.
An older individual suffers from a neurodegenerative disease. Consequently, they suffer cognitive decline to the point where they are no longer sound of mind.
These examples highlight situations where guardianship is necessary to protect the person and their estates. However, not appointing a legal guardian may cause confusion, especially during medical emergencies. That is why more and more New Jersey residents use guardianships to protect themselves and their loved ones. Recent statistics show an average growth rate of 11.2% in adult guardianships between 2012 and 2019. These figures show the importance that New Jersey residents place on protecting their rights.
Who Can Be a Guardian?
In essence, anyone over 18 can be a guardian in New Jersey. Generally speaking, family members, close friends, attorneys, or the Bureau of Guardianship Services may become a guardian.
Please bear in mind that legal guardians must have the protected person’s best interest in mind. This responsibility includes ensuring they get proper medical and personal care.
When a guardian is also the guardian of the estate, the guardian has a fiduciary responsibility. In other words, the guardian must ensure responsible management of the protected person’s assets.
It is worth noting that being a guardian does not entail authority over end-of-life decisions. If no such arrangements have been made, the guardian must make such decisions with doctors and next of kin.
Types of Guardianships
There are two main types of guardianships in New Jersey:
Guardianship of the Person
A guardian of the person is responsible for the protected person’s well-being. This responsibility entails making all necessary arrangements to ensure the protected person’s health, dignity, and care.
Guardianship of the Estate
This guardianship gives the guardian responsibility over assets, financial matters, and income. However, ownership is not transferred to the guardian. Instead, the guardian has a fiduciary obligation, meaning the guardian must ensure the protected person’s estate is handled responsibly.
How Is a Guardian Appointed?
Establishing a guardianship is a decision that must be made between an individual and their chosen guardian(s).
Please note that hiring an estate planning attorney is a key step in appointing a guardian. An experienced estate planning attorney can guide people through the process of submitting an application to the Bureau of Guardianship Services.
Also, the application must be supported by two medical doctors or one doctor and one psychologist to ensure the person is able to make decisions. After, the proposed guardian must sign the legal paperwork accepting the appointment.
Lastly, a hearing is conducted in court to establish guardianship officially. All in all, the process takes about eight weeks.
Union City, New Jersey
At the Hudson Law Firm, we aim to help our clients protect themselves and their loved ones. Contact our firm today to protect the ones you love. Please remember that the best day to plan your estate is today. We proudly serve clients in Union City, Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and North Bergen, New Jersey.