Guardianship Monitoring Program

Judiciary Launches Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring Program. Attorneys, Accountants, Retired Professionals, Students and Others Called to Help. Read Press Release.

Overview of The Judiciary Guardianship Monitoring Program [+]

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 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.


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.

We need volunteers – a host of them – to supplement limited government resources. Volunteers will gather data and review reports and files to ensure that each guardianship case is handled the way it should be.

Volunteer. Make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who cannot protect themselves.

What types of volunteer opportunities are available in the GMP?

The Judiciary is recruiting Guradianship Monitoring Program (GMP) volunteers to assist the courts with examining documents contained in guardianship files and entering information about the guardianships into GMS. Volunteers also help obtain current information about incapacitated persons and their guardians and update GMS records. Data that volunteers enter into GMS is used to build the statewide GMS database and to verify that guardians comply with reporting requirements.

In addition, volunteers examine inventories and annual reports filed by guardians. These documents provide the court with information about the affairs of incapacitated persons to ensure that they are being handled properly and in their best interest. Volunteers use GMS to record their findings, including errors or discrepancies in guardians’ reports, and to make recommendations about follow-up action that court staff or Probate Part judges should take.

GMP volunteers must have basic computer skills and should have some experience and/or interest in reading and understanding legal and/or financial documents. Program-specific training is provided for all GMP volunteers.

All GMP volunteer work is done in the County Surrogate's office during business hours (generally Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm). Volunteers are expected to contribute about 6-12 hours per month to the GMP. Schedules are generally flexible, and will be addressed on a case by case basis.

Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, and are asked to commit to serve for at least one year. Qualified candidates will be interviewed for more details about their qualifications and the volunteer functions. All Judiciary volunteers must be fingerprinted and pass a background check, and must accept and comply with the Code of Conduct for Judiciary Volunteers.

The program, which is expected to be statewide by June 2014, is currently in five counties – Hunterdon, Passaic, Burlington, Mercer, and Camden. Prospective volunteers in other counties will be kept informed about the start of the program in their counties.

Contact Us: Should you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to email or call using the contact information below.

Frequently Asked Questions:
  • What is a guardianship? [+]
  • 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.

  • How many adults are affected by guardianships? [+]
  • 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.

  • What is the New Jersey Judiciary Guardianship Monitoring Program? [+]
  • 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.

  • Why is GMP necessary? [+]
  • 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.

  • What is the goal of 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.

  • How is this goal achieved? [+]
  • 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.

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