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Guardianships & Conservatorships

Guardianships

A guardianship becomes necessary when a loved one is no longer able to manage his or her own personal and financial affairs. The role of the guardian is to make decisions on behalf of an individual who has been determined by the Chancery Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey to be incapacitated.

A guardian is appointed by the Court and is charged with making financial and other decisions on behalf of an individual who is no longer capable of doing so on their own.  Our attorneys can help you apply for a guardianship of a loved one. Once appointed, we can also guide you to manage the affairs of your loved one in their best interest.

Because a guardianship proceeding may end with an individual being adjudicated incapacitated, the subject of a proceeding is permitted to defend themselves and argue that a guardianship is not needed. Our attorneys can work with you and your loved ones if you feel a guardianship is being wrongly pursued. Often a conservatorship can be applied for when there is a need for help, but a guardianship is inappropriate.

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship, but with 2 major differences. First, an individual who is the subject of a conservatorship may still be marginally capable of managing his or her own affairs with some assistance. Second the individual must consent to the conservatorship.  The conservator is not placed in a position to make all the decisions, but rather to assist the individual with their decision making.  Very often a conservatorship can be used to ensure that your elderly loved ones are not taken advantage of while allowing them to still be independent.

Because a conservatorship or a guardianship takes away an individual’s independence, they may prefer to find an alternative to a court’s adjudication. An individual can avoid the possibility of a guardianship or conservatorship in their future by meeting with our estate planning attorneys now.

For more information or to set up a consultation with a lawyer at Gebhardt & Kiefer, P.C., call 908-735-5161, or fill out the contact form on this site. With offices in Clinton Township (Annandale) and Bridgewater, our firm serves clients throughout central and northwestern New Jersey.