The Law Offices of Brenda McElnea, CELA

Experienced Elder Law Attorney

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Creating Guardianships and Conservatorships in West Orange New Jersey

Helping Families Protect Incapacitated Loved Ones

It can be hard to watch our loved ones develop dementia. Relatives who have been independent their whole lives may become unable to manage their finances or make decisions regarding their health care. While they may resist having another person manage any part of their lives, that may be necessary to protect them.

A parent is able to make decisions for a developmentally disabled child until the child turns 18. If the child has sufficient mental capacity to execute powers of attorney, he or she should do so. If not, a parent should begin a guardianship action. In addition, the parent who is named the guardian can also name a successor to serve when he or she is no longer living in his or her Last Will.

At The Law Offices of Brenda McElnea, whose main office is located in West Orange, we help families protect their loved ones by creating guardianships and conservatorships. We represent clients throughout Essex and Monmouth Counties, and northern and central New Jersey.

Creating Guardianships

A guardianship is court-supervised surrogate decision making. If the court determines that an individual is mentally incapacitated, it will appoint a person (usually a family member) to make decisions for that individual. Families must pursue guardianships when the incapacitated person does not have a health care proxy or an effective general durable power of attorney. The guardianship usually gives a guardian power over the incapacitated that person’s property and health care decisions.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

If the incapacitated person does not think a guardianship is needed, he or she may contest it. In other situations, there may be conflict surrounding who should be the guardian. Our attorneys represent clients who are seeking guardianships and those who are fighting guardianships.

We have experience helping clients plan for government benefits within a guardianship including:

  • Applying for benefits
  • Setting up special needs trusts
  • Planning for asset preservation
  • Preparing accountings
  • Developing a personal care plan

Creating Conservatorships

Unlike guardianships, the court does not need to make any official ruling regarding a person’s mental capacity in a conservatorship action. In addition, the person must consent to having the conservatorship over them, which is very different from guardianships. Conservatorships provide powers only over the person’s property, not their health care decisions. Our lawyers handle all aspects of conservatorship actions, including preparation of the required annual accounting.

Discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer, contact us online or call 866-241-8477.