Guardianship & Alternatives Options Go Bag
What You Need When You're Preparing For the Future
At 18, all individuals, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, reach the legal age of majority. This means that a parent can no longer make decisions legally on behalf of their children. Most people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities can manage their own affairs with assistance and guidance from others, such as family and friends. If guardianship is necessary, it should be tailored to the person’s needs.
Read more of The Arc's position on Guardianship HERE.
Families considering guardianship should learn more about all the options before making a final decision. For additional information read The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute’s Guardianship Guide.
Pro se means "without a petitioning attorney". The proposed guardian represents himself or herself in court. Pro Se forms and instructions can be found HERE.
- Things to think about before you represent yourself in court
- Definitions of words that may be used in the pro se packet
- How to file a guardianship action with the county surrogate
- Interpreting Services - The New Jersey Judiciary provides court-interpreting services. If you need an interpreter, notify the court as soon as possible.
Department of Human Services, Bureau of Guardianship Services (BGS)
Establishing guardianship is a legal process, and many families turn to the Bureau of Guardianship Services at the Department of Human Services for help with the process. BGS is responsible for processing and tracking guardianship actions for people served by the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) who have been evaluated according to state law and determined to require a guardian. BGS is only able to serve individuals who have been determined by DDD, through its application process, to be eligible for its services.
Bureau of Guardianship - Fact Sheet
- Guardianship Support/Guardianship Monitoring Program
Government is responsible for ensuring that guardians understand the significant authority and responsibility of guardianship, and 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 provides guardianship support through its Guardian Essentials and the Guardianship Monitoring Program.
PLAN/NJ assists in the future care planning of individuals with various mental health and developmental disabilities in New Jersey by working directly with parents and family members to answer the question, "Who will care for my loved one when I am gone?"
- PLAN/NJ Professional Sponsorship Directory – Attorneys and Financial Advisors/Planners
- Guardianship Association of New Jersey, Inc. (GANJI):
GANJI is a not-for-profit organization of professionals, families, and individuals committed to supporting guardians and other surrogate decision makers in enhancing the lives of persons who require assistance.
- The Arc and the Center for Future Planning:
The Center for Future Planning aims to support and encourage adults with I/DD and their families to plan for the future. The Center provides reliable information and assistance to individuals with I/DD, their family members and friends, professionals who support them and other members of the community on areas such as person-centered planning, decision-making, housing options, and financial planning.
- Transferring Guardianship Across State Lines
- Hinkle, Fingles and Prior
The attorneys of Hinkle, Fingles & Prior can advise you and your family regarding the establishment of appropriate levels of surrogate decision-making and responsibility for you and your loved one with an intellectual and developmental disability.
- Giving Someone a Power of Attorney For Your Health Care: A Guide with an Easy-to-Use, Multi-State Form for All Adults
- Self-Advocacy Guide to Guardianships
- Palliative and End of Life Care: What is an Advance Directive
- Sample healthcare power of attorney & Advance Directive forms
Information on Supported Decision-Making
Supported Decision-Making is a way people can make their own decisions and stay in charge of their lives, while receiving any help they need to do so.
- National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making
- American Bar Association: Supported Decision-Making
- Sample* Supported Decision Making Form for IEP Meeting
- Pairing Advance Directives with Supported Decision-Making