New Jersey Chief Justice, Stuart Rabner, announced a statewide program to monitor court appointed guardians and their care of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled who rely on legal guardians to manage their financial and health-related decisions. The plan calls for volunteers who will be coordinated by county surrogate offices.
“The Guardianship Monitoring Program is a volunteer initiative that grows out of the need to ensure that friends, neighbors and family members who are incapacitated are treated with the dignity and integrity they deserve, “ Chief Justice Rabner said.
Legal Guardians are court appointed family members, friends, attorneys and others. They manage the financial and personal affairs of people they assist. In addition, they are required to report annually on the financial status and the general well-being of the individual in their charge. Written reports are filed each year with the county surrogate.
“Experience has shown us that although most legal guardians are caring and responsible individuals, that is not always the case. Unfortunately, some guardians have exploited the very people they promised to help. Because government resources are simply not adequate to provide the level of detailed review that each annual report deserves, we are enlisting volunteers to join the Guardianship Monitoring Program and help out, “ Rabner said.
The Judiciary has developed a new statewide database to track all guardianships and ensure that reviews will be conducted in a timely and thorough manner. The new program will record every court ordered guardianship and monitor each case.
The program is expected to begin in November 2013, and begin in three counties: Hunterdon, Passaic and Mercer.
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BE ADVISED that these comments are not legal opinions and are not to be relied upon as legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact your county bar association; most of which have referral services.