Applying for Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal process for adults who have a clinically diagnosed medical condition and are unable to make or communicate effective decisions about their everyday self-care, health, and safety.

 

At 18 years of age all individuals, including those with developmental disabilities, reach the legal age of majority. This means that parents can no longer make decisions legally on behalf of an adult child, regardless of the nature of the individual's disability and regardless of whether or not the individual still lives with the family.  Considering  guardianship might be an option for their family member.  Establishing guardianship is a legal process, and many families turn to the Bureau of Guardianship Services at the Department of Human Services for help with the process. Guardianship, however, can be established without the Bureau’s involvement.

Applying for Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal process for adults who have a clinically diagnosed medical condition and are unable to make or communicate effective decisions about their everyday self-care, health, and safety.

 

At 18 years of age all individuals, including those with developmental disabilities, reach the legal age of majority. This means that parents can no longer make decisions legally on behalf of an adult child, regardless of the nature of the individual's disability and regardless of whether or not the individual still lives with the family.  Considering  guardianship might be an option for their family member.  Establishing guardianship is a legal process, and many families turn to the Bureau of Guardianship Services at the Department of Human Services for help with the process. Guardianship, however, can be established without the Bureau’s involvement.

What is General or Limited Guardianship?

Types of guardianship

  • General Guardianship: sometimes referred to as ‘plenary’ guardianship, is appropriate for people who have been found incapable of making or expressing any decisions.

  • Limited Guardianship covers decision-making around residential, educational, medical, legal, vocational, and financial issues and is appropriate for people who have been found capable of making and expressing some, but not all, decisions.

Ways to complete the guardianship process

  • Do-it-yourself: visit or call your county to obtain step-by-step instructions to complete this process yourself. You may consult with other parents who have been through the process. 

  • Attorney-assisted: Utilize an attorney experienced in guardianship cases. This will likely cost money.

 

Family Options Regarding Guardianship

Families in New Jersey should be aware that they have the following options regarding guardianship. 

An individual can appoint a Power of Attorney (POA) to make decisions on his or her behalf.  Individuals with a disability must be able to understand, on a basic level, that they are appointing someone to make decisions on their behalf.

Resources: Guardianship for People with Autism in New Jersey

Understanding Types of Guardianship

ASCARC Guardianship Services, Inc.

Guardianship of the Person and Estate (Property), Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) 

You should NOT use this packet if you are seeking appointment of a guardian of the person only.

NJ Courts Form

Guardianship of the Person of an Individual, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) 

You should NOT use this packet if you are seeking appointment of a guardian of the person AND estate (property) of someone eligible for DDD services.

NJ Courts Form

Guardianship Application Packets and Instructions

SCARC Guardianhip Services, Inc​

CONTACT  |  njpdda@gmail.com

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