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What to Know About Guardianships in New Jersey

When it comes to estate planning, you will have to make a lot of decisions for yourself. But, in some cases, you will also have to make decisions for your loved ones. This may occur if you need to appoint a guardian, or if you appoint yourself as someone’s guardian. Read on to learn more about guardianships in New Jersey.

Why Should I Create a Guardianship?

Creating a guardianship for a member of your family gives an individual the legal authority to care for the person in the guardianship in the event that they cannot care for themselves. In some cases, you may appoint yourself as someone else’s guardian, and in other cases, the court may appoint you as another person’s guardian. Additionally, in your estate plan, you can appoint a guardian for yourself, your children, pets, etc.

What Is the Role of A Guardian?

If you are appointed as a guardian for another person’s property or their money, you are considered a fiduciary. This means you must always abide by the following rules set forth by the state:

  1. You must only act in the individual’s best interest

  2. You must manage the individual’s money and property carefully and responsibly

  3. You must keep the individual’s money and property entirely separate from their own

  4. You must keep orderly records of all money and property

In addition to the above, you will also be responsible for:

  • Paying all bills and taxes on time

  • Ensuring the person you are a guardian for is living in a safe environment

  • Listing every asset the individual owns

  • Always following the court’s instructions

  • Keeping receipts for all expenses related to your guardianship

  • In certain cases, you must ensure all healthcare needs are met

How Do I Select a Guardian?

It is important that you choose someone you trust. Typically, a guardian is a close friend or family member. You may appoint someone to look after you in your old age, or, if you are a parent of a child under the age of 18, you may appoint a guardian to care for that child if you for some reason should be unable to do so in the future.

A guardian is an incredibly important role. If you have any questions regarding the responsibilities of being a guardian, or how to appoint one, contact our firm today. We are here to walk you through all of your estate planning needs.


Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 25 years. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.