How Do You Get Guardianship for Adults With Mental Illness in NJ?
Are you wondering what the process is for getting guardianship for adults with mental illness in New Jersey?
If so, it is essential to remember that mental illness guardianship is determined by New Jersey law. The Department of Human Services provides clear guidelines on the prerequisites of guardianship and the application procedure.
This article will explain the key points you need to be aware of when asking the question: How do you get guardianship of a mentally ill person?
Types of Guardianship for Adults with Mental Illness
Before beginning the process of becoming a guardian of a mentally ill person, you need to establish what type of guardianship you are seeking. There are two types:
- General guardianship (also known as plenary guardianship)
- Limited guardianship
General guardianship will be appropriate if the mentally ill adult is incapable of making or expressing decisions.
But, can adults have guardians if they can make some decisions? Yes, you can get limited guardianship of a mentally ill adult to help them make a particular range of decisions.
Usually, limited guardianship will cover significant legal, financial, residential, educational, vocational, and medical decisions.
How Do I Get Legal Guardianship in NJ?
The legal age of majority in New Jersey is 18. Once a disabled person has reached this age, a parent or other relevant individual must apply for legal guardianship over that person. The process is fundamentally different from the process of adoption.
A guardian of a mentally disabled person may be a parent, another relative, an interested and responsible person, or the Bureau of Guardianship Services (BGS). It is possible to be co-guardians.
Steps To Become a Legal Guardian of an Adult
The first step of becoming a guardian to an adult with mental illness is to obtain a psychological evaluation. BGS will provide a referral for this. The psychological evaluation must be recent.
The court will then make a recommendation of whether guardianship is appropriate. If the recommendation is affirmative, BGS will prepare the relevant documents for the proposed guardian.
It is important to note that the New Jersey Courts recommend you get a lawyer to assist with your application.
Once the paperwork is signed and submitted to the court, the court will direct the Public Advocate to meet with the proposed guardian. The Public Advocate will then either support or oppose the proposed guardianship.
If the Public Advocate opposes the guardianship, a court hearing will be held.
Finally, the court will make a formal decision and issue Letters of Guardianship if the application is successful.
Guardianship Is a Serious But Beneficial Commitment
The courts view guardianship for adults with mental illness as a last resort because an individual’s right to self-determination is being taken away.
However, guardianship is often a necessary and beneficial option to take. It is often the best way to ensure that a loved one has the support to be adequately taken care of.
Does a Guardian Have Legal Rights?
Are you considering getting guardianship over a mentally disabled person and would like to know more about guardianship and your legal rights in New Jersey?
Contact the Family Law Firm of Dalena & Bosch to schedule a consultation today.
We will guide you through the process, giving you the professional expertise and personal assistance you need.