A guardianship action involves a person who is declared incapacitated as a result of physical or mental disability. At the conclusion of a guardianship and once all criteria have been met, the Court appoints a guardian to oversee the incapacitated person. The guardian qualifies with the Surrogate’s Court and is handed reports that must be filed annually. There is a report of well-being, which addresses the personal needs of the incapacitated person. There is also a report of how the finances are managed.
Previously, there was little in the way of active monitoring of the activities of guardians statewide. The solution has been the creation of a volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Program in New Jersey. The intent of the program is to provide oversight on the thousands of guardianships entered by the court annually. Judges cannot possibly monitor all of the guardians to ensure that they are complying with the guardianship rules. The Surrogate’s Court has insufficient support staff to review the annual reports that are filed.
It is believed that monitoring and oversight of guardianship matters helps prevent harm to the incapacitated person. The program trains volunteer monitors in each county on how to review reports filed the guardians and if discrepancies are found, to address them with the guardian. The volunteers have access to the statewide database and are able to track and follow up on guardianship files. If issues are found, they also report to the Surrogate or the probate judge for continued follow up.
If you have any questions or would like more information on guardianship monitoring, please contact our attorneys at Weiss & Tom.