Guardianship is a protective arrangement created by a court when a court determines that a person is incapacitated and in need of another person to make legal, financial and/or medical decisions for him or her.
Conservatorship is a protective arrangement created by a court where the court determines that a person is not incapacitated, but still needs and wants another person to make legal, financial and/or medical decisions for him or her.
A Guardianship or Conservatorship may be necessary when an accident, disease or other event eliminates or reduces a person’s ability to handle his or her own affairs. Guardianships and Conservatorships are also used to provide parents of a developmentally disabled child to make decisions for the child after the child reaches the age of eighteen.
Sometimes, Guardianship can be over-utilized. For example, in the case of developmentally disabled children, the child may have limitations, but the limitations may not rise to the level of an incapacity that justifies Guardianship and the elimination of any vestiges of autonomy for the child.
John J. Ross has been involved in many matters in which Guardianship has been sought by well-meaning parents on the advice of well-meaning friends, family members and professionals. Where appropriate, Mr. Ross offers alternatives, such as Conservatorships, powers of attorney and advance directives, by which children with limitations can benefit from protective arrangements that are less restrictive than Guardianship.
Mr. Ross has found that the developmentally disabled are sometimes pigeon-holed into the “completely incapacitated” category and that parents of developmentally disabled children are not presented with options, beyond Guardianship. Under some circumstances, the less restrictive protective arrangements can take into account the abilities that the developmentally disabled often have and provide the individuals with the added dignity that the less restrictive options provide.
John J. Ross’ experience with Guardianships and Conservatorships includes successfully representing individuals who have sought to be appointed guardian. Mr. Ross has also been appointed by the Superior Court of New Jersey to represent individuals who have been alleged to be incapacitated, and to serve as Guardian, Temporary Guardian and Special Medical Guardian for incapacitated individuals who do not have family members or friends who are qualified to serve.