Court appointed legal guardians make decisions for incapacitated people about personal and medical care, meals, transportation, and even where a person lives. Guardians control assets, manage budgets, pay debts, and make all financial and investment decisions for the people they assist.
Government is responsible for monitoring the health and well-being, along with the finances of every incapacitated person under the care of a legal guardian. It is the only way to eliminate opportunities for abuse.
The New Jersey Judiciary Guardianship Monitoring Program (GMP) is a comprehensive statewide court program established to monitor guardians in their handling of the affairs of those who are legally unable to act on their own behalf. The GMP, a supplement to the authority granted through guardianship appointments, provides an ongoing relationship between guardians and the court in support of the best interests of incapacitated individuals.
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Volunteer. Make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who cannot protect themselves.Frequently Asked Questions:
A guardianship is established when a Superior Court, Probate Part judge declares a person incapacitated and appoints a guardian to oversee the incapacitated individual’s well-being and/or financial affairs.
Incapacitated individuals are adults impaired by mental illness or deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic alcoholism, developmental disability or other cause, to the extent that they cannot govern themselves and manage their affairs.
Approximately 2,400 adult guardianship actions were filed in New Jersey in 2012. Guardianship records are maintained at the county level, and the number of active guardianships statewide is presently unknown. Guardianships for elderly citizens suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other debilitating conditions can last up to 10 years. Guardianships for developmentally disabled young adults can last up to 50 years.
The New Jersey Judiciary Guardianship Monitoring Program (GMP) is a comprehensive statewide volunteer-based court program established to monitor guardians in their handling of the affairs of incapacitated individuals, including elderly and developmentally disabled adults. The GMP monitors guardianship cases to ensure that guardians of incapacitated persons are performing their duties appropriately. Monitoring and oversight of guardianships helps identify, address, prevent, and deter activities that are harmful to incapacitated individuals.
Guardianship monitoring provides a two-way relationship between guardians and the court to act in the best interests of incapacitated individuals. It is a natural extension of the role of the court to protect those who are legally unable to act on their own behalf. It is also supported by New Jersey law.
Most guardians are caring family members or friends devoted to the care and well-being of incapacitated individuals. However, a small percentage of guardians have engaged in documented cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of incapacitated persons.
As New Jersey’s populations of aging adults and individuals with disabilities increase, the number of guardianships also is expected to increase. Unfortunately, this could result in increased opportunities for abuse, neglect, and exploitation by guardians.
Although several New Jersey surrogates’ offices maintain county-based volunteer guardianship monitoring programs, the need for guardianship monitoring exists statewide. The New Jersey Judiciary has responded to this need by establishing the GMP.
The goal of the GMP is to safeguard and reduce the potential for abuse and exploitation of incapacitated individuals by their guardians. The program is committed to helping ensure that these vulnerable members of society are treated with dignity and respect, while also assisting guardians in their sometimes difficult role.
The GMP monitors guardianship cases to ensure that guardians of incapacitated persons are performing their duties appropriately. Monitoring and oversight of guardianships helps identify, address, prevent, and deter activities that are harmful to incapacitated individuals.
Trained GMP volunteers use the Guardianship Monitoring System (GMS), a computer application comprised of a statewide guardianship database and a report review tool, to track and follow up on guardianship files. The volunteers’ work ensures that guardians comply with statutory and court-ordered requirements to file documents and reports and manage the affairs of incapacitated individuals effectively.
How to Apply: Click here to find the online volunteer application and contact information for the Superior Court office in your county that will process your application.
Guidelines: Click here to review guidelines and important information for prospective court volunteers.
Guardian Essentials: Instructions & Reference Materials
Guides for Guardians
Guardian Reporting Forms
General Court Information