Experienced Guardianship Attorneys In New Jersey
Guardianship refers to the legal authority that is granted to one or more individuals, or to an agency, allowing that party to make decisions on behalf of a minor or an incapacitated adult. Guardianship is designed to ensure that a person’s health, safety and welfare needs are met — and that their rights are protected — when they are unable to care for themselves.
Most guardianships are nonadversarial, but there are strict standards that must be met, because the courts will not enter an order of incapacity, essentially taking a person’s civil rights of self-determination away from him or her unless the evidence is clear that the person is unable to make those decisions adequately. This requires adherence to the rules of court and decisional case law with the input of qualified physicians and court-appointed advocates for the allegedly incapacitated person.
Alternatives To Guardianship
A well-drafted general durable power of attorney can, at a fraction of the cost, spare a family the time, expense and anguish of having to air its problems in a guardianship court proceeding that may be open to the public. With proper planning, a power of attorney can be executed while you have the capacity to make decisions for yourself and designate whom you wish to be in charge when you can no longer make those decisions yourself.
Why is planning ahead and creating proper powers of attorney documents a good idea? For starters, contested guardianship cases can be emotional and stressful. The issues almost always involve either a battle as to who will be the guardian, pitting family members against each other because of personal disagreements as to who is better suited to have the responsibility for, and power over, a loved one. Contested litigation, where doctors, temporary guardians and court-appointed attorneys are involved, is expensive and can waste assets that could be put to better use.
Experienced Handling Guardianship Disputes
Sometimes, the alleged incapacitated person may fight the need for guardianship, particularly when he or she lacks the capacity to handle his or her affairs but still has the capacity to comprehend what is happening. This type of matter is made worse when one family member sides with the alleged incapacitated person and questions the motives of the person who brought the case to court.
If your situation reaches this point, our lawyers at Rudolph and Bloodgood, LLC, know how to explore the possibility of negotiated resolutions by discussing limited guardianships in appropriate cases and by trying to deal with other issues that may be the real driving force to opposition. If a trial is necessary, we provide our clients — as we do with probate litigation — with aggressive but professional advocacy.
Plan Today To Prevent Headaches Tomorrow
We welcome the opportunity to discuss guardianships with you and explore if well-drafted powers of attorney documents can be a more effective and cost-efficient solution. To schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers, contact us online or call 973-208-2900. Our office in Riverdale is handicap-accessible and has adequate off-street parking. We are available during regular business hours and are convenient to New Jersey Route 23 and Route I-287.
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