Residents of New Jersey who are faced with a situation in which calls for making legal or medical decisions for a minor or incapacitated adult may want to consider establishing guardianship. Although not appropriate for all circumstances, a guardianship can provide certain protections for both the guardian and the person needing guarding.
According to FindLaw, guardianship of a minor is recommended when the caretaker is providing for all the child's needs and the situation is going to continue for longer than a few months. This is beneficial for the child because the caretaker is able to make more decisions, such as medical care, school enrollment and benefits, based on the best interests of the child. The caretaker also has some protection in the event the parents, who are deemed unfit, want to get custody back.
Parents may also establish guardianship over a child's property in the event he or she inherits property or money of any worth. This reduces liability in the event of misuse and also ensures the parent's management of the property is appropriate.
According to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, guardianship of an adult may also be suitable when the adult cannot fully make decisions on his or her own. When court appointed, the guardianship is of the individual only, and the guardian has no financial obligation. The only responsibility related to finances is in helping the person fill in and sign entitlement applications. Other duties the guardian performs are those related to the person's welfare, safety and health. Most guardianships are not permanent, and regular review of guardianship need is performed.