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Kenneth Vercammen & Associates
A Law Office with Experienced Attorneys for Your New Jersey Legal Needs
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison NJ 08817
732-572-0500
1-800-655-2977

Legal Guardianship of a Parent or Adult Family Member.

Kenneth Vercammens Office represents persons seeking legal Guardianship of a Parent or Adult Family Member.

Occasionally an individual can not manage his or her life as a result of a mental or physical disability, alcohol or drug addiction. If a legally prepared power of attorney was signed, a trusted family member, friend or professional can legally act on that persons affairs. If a power of attorney was not signed, your attorney must file a formal complaint and other legal pleadings in the Superior Court. The Guardianship Complaint will request a Court Order and Judgment to permit a trusted family member, friend or professional to handle financial affairs.

A Power of Attorney is generally given by one person to another in case the grantor becomes ill or incapacitated. A Power of Attorney permits the holder to pay the grantors bills and handle the grantors affairs when the grantor is unable to do the same.

A Power of Attorney is an appointment of another person as ones agent. A Power of Attorney creates a principal-agent relationship. The grantor of the Power of Attorney is the principal. The person to whom the Power of Attorney is given is the agent. We give the title attorney-in-fact to the agent who is given Power of Attorney.

Without a proper legal Power of Attorney or court ordered guardianship, even a spouse does not have the legal authority to sign their spouses signature. If a valid power of attorney is not legally prepared, signed and acknowledged in front of an attorney or notary, it is invalid.

Without a Power of Attorney, a Guardianship Order and Judgment must be obtained from the Superior Court to permit complete legal decision making.

According to Disability Law, A Legal Primer published by the New Jersey State Bar Association, a guardian is a person appointed by a court to make financial and personal decisions for a person proven to be legally incompetent. p11

1. When is a guardian needed? A guardian is needed when an individual can not manage his or her life as a result of a mental or physical disability, alcohol or drug addiction. The person for whom a guardian is appointed is called a ward. Disability Law at p11

Legislation changed the designation of mental incompetent to incapacitated person in all laws, rules, regulations and documents.

2. What rights does an incompetent lose? Unless a Court orders otherwise, a ward/incompetent does not have the right to decide where to live, spend money, use property, appear in Court or undergo medical treatment without the approval of his or her guardian. An unmarried incompetent also loses the right to marry.

3. How does somebody become the guardian of another? Guardians are appointed by Courts after the person in need of guardianship is proven incompetent. Guardianship actions can be brought under the general incompetency statute (N.J.S.A. 3B:12-25 et seq.) or under the statute dealing with people who receive services from the State Division of Developmental Disabilities. N.J.S.A.. 30:4-165.4 et seq. Guardians who are married to the incompetent or are parents of an unmarried incompetent can choose who will become the guardian after the guardians die and include a clause designating their successor in their wills. Disability Laws p12. Under the general incompetency statute, a Complaint requesting Guardianship must be filed in the Superior Court. With a detailed Affidavit by the person requesting to be Guardian detailing the assets of the incompetent plus reasons why the incompetent is no longer able to manage their affairs. Affidavits of two doctors are also needed. The Affidavit must be signed within 30 days of the examination. The Court will appoint a temporary attorney to interview the incompetent and prepare a report to the Court.

4. Who can be a guardian? Generally, a close relative or a person with a close relationship to the proposed incompetent who will act to protect the incompetents best interests can be guardian. When a close friend or relative is not available, the Court may appoint the Public Guardian (for persons over 60) or a volunteer Attorney to serve as guardian.

5. What are the rights of the proposed incapacitated/incompetent person prior to hearing? The proposed incompetent is entitled to receive advance notice of the guardianship hearing, to be represented by a lawyer and to present a defense at the hearing.

6. What happens if the incompetent regains the ability to manage his or her affairs? The incompetent can then go back to Court and ask to be made his or her own guardian again, but must show that he or she has regained sound reason.

7. When is a guardian not needed? Just because a person has a disability, does not mean that they need a guardian. A guardian is not needed if a person can make, and understand the nature of decisions, and communicate decisions to others. A guardian is not required for someone who has a physical disability, but can manage his or her affairs, and is not needed if a person merely has a problem managing money or property. Disability Law p12.

 


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week for litigation and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer.

He is chair of the Elder Law Committee of the American Bar Association General Practice Division. He is also Editor of the ABA Estate Planning Probate Committee Newsletter and also the Criminal Law Committee newsletter. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award. And past Winner "General Practice Attorney of the Year" from the NJ State Bar Association. He is a 22 year active member of the American Bar Association. He is also a member of the ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Section.

He established the NJlaws website which includes many articles on Elder Law. Mr. Vercammen received his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Scranton and his J.D. from Widener/Delaware Law School, where he was the Case Note Editor of the Delaware Law Forum, a member of the Law Review and the winner of the Delaware Trial Competition.

RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS ON WILLS, ELDER LAW, AND PROBATE

Edison Adult School -Wills, Elder Law & Probate- 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 [inc Edison TV], 2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997
Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law - NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education/ NJ State Bar ICLE/NJSBA 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1996
Elder Law and Estate Planning- American Bar Association Miami 2007
Elder Law Practice, New Ethical Ideas to Improve Your Practice by Giving Clients What They Want and Need American Bar Association Hawaii 2006
South Plainfield Seniors- New Probate Law 2005, East Brunswick Seniors- New Probate Law 2005
Old Bridge AARP 2002; Guardian Angeles/ Edison 2002; St. Cecilia/ Woodbridge Seniors 2002;
East Brunswick/ Halls Corner 2002;
Linden AARP 2002
Woodbridge Adult School -Wills and Estate Administration -2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996
Woodbridge Housing 2001; Metuchen Seniors & Metuchen TV 2001; Frigidare/ Local 401 Edison 2001; Chelsea/ East Brunswick 2001, Village Court/ Edison 2001; Old Bridge Rotary 2001; Sacred Heart/ South Amboy 2001; Livingston Manor/ New Brunswick 2001; Sunrise East Brunswick 2001; Strawberry Hill/ Woodbridge 2001;
Wills and Elder Law - Metuchen Adult School 1999,1997,1996,1995,1994,1993
Clara Barton Senior Citizens- Wills & Elder Law-Edison 2002, 1995
AARP Participating Attorney in Legal Plan for NJ AARP members 1999-2005

Contact the Law Office of
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
at 732-572-0500
for an appointment.

The Law Office cannot provide legal advice or answer legal questions over the phone or by email. Please call the Law office and schedule a confidential "in office" consultation. The Law Office now accepts payment by American Express, Visa and Master Card.

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Ken Vercammen articles

Directions to Ken Vercammen and Associates
Ken Vercammens Resume



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