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What to know about becoming a guardian to a disabled adult

On Behalf of | May 19, 2022 | Family Law

Residents of New Jersey who have an adult family member who is disabled might need extra help for that person. One way to protect your loved one is to become their guardian.

What is guardianship?

A guardianship is a legal tool allowing a person to make decisions on behalf of someone incapable of making them. Often, the court will appoint a person to be the legal guardian of someone who’s disabled and unable to make crucial decisions regarding their finances and health care.

An adult with a mental disability might require a guardian to oversee their care and take care of their financial responsibilities. Depending on the nature of their disability, they might be unable to voice their own concerns or even live alone.

What are the requirements to serve as a guardian?

If you would like to apply to become a guardian for a disabled loved one in your family, you must meet certain requirements. You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the United States. You must be of sound mind and not have a disability.

Potential guardians must not have any prior felony convictions involving physical or psychological harm toward an older person or a person with a disability. However, it’s possible to be appointed a guardian if you have prior convictions that did not involve harm against the above-mentioned groups. Depending on the jurisdiction, people with felony convictions might be disqualified from serving as a guardian.

After guardianship is established, it’s the guardian’s responsibility to make all financial and health-related decisions on the person’s behalf. They must also ensure that any medical and educational services are appropriate and maintained.

The court must be apprised of any updates to the ward’s situation such as their health status, living situation and services provided to them.