Sometimes, unfortunately, an adult becomes mentally unable to make financial or personal/medical decisions for themselves. If that happens, and there is no power of attorney or health care proxy, or those documents are not sufficient to enable someone to make those decisions or manage their funds, a guardianship may be necessary. Guardianship involves filing an action in court to determine if the person is mentally incapacitated and to appoint a guardian over the person and his or her property.
Often, a relative of the incapacitated person is appointed as guardian. If no relative is available or willing to serve, the court can appoint someone else. In New Jersey, if the incapacitated person is over the age of 65 and no one else is available to serve, the Office of the Public Guardian may be appointed by the court.