Guardianships – New Background Screening Procedure for Certain Guardianship Petitions

The New Jersey Judiciary has recently issued a directive that for all petitions for guardianship of incapacitated persons filed on or after May 15, 2021, a new background screening policy is in place.

Specifically, for certain proposed guardians, the Court will now require that they be subject to a background check that includes: a check of Judiciary systems, a fingerprint or computerized criminal history check, and potentially a judgment search (otherwise known as a Charles Jones search). Further, the proposed guardians subject to this new background screening policy will be required to include a certification as part of the guardianship application that discloses any criminal or civil judgment history and will be required to keep the court updated as to any changes in his or her criminal or civil judgment history.

Notably, this new background screening policy will not be applicable to certain proposed guardians, unless expressly ordered by the Court. The generally exempted proposed guardians include parents of the alleged incapacitated person, the spouse or domestic partner of the alleged incapacitated person, pendente lite or temporary guardians as ordered by the court, agencies, public officials, banks, trust companies, credit unions, etc., and New Jersey attorneys in good standing.

In establishing this new background screening policy for certain proposed guardians, the Judiciary seeks to “further safeguard the vulnerable population of incapacitated adults against risks of potential abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation by guardians appointed by the court to make decisions related to their care and financial affairs.”

If you are seeking guardianship of an alleged incapacitated person, the skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience handling guardianship matters. We invite you to contact us online or give us a call at our office at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment today. For your convenience we offer telephone consultations which allow you to speak with an experienced attorney about your estate planning needs from the comfort and security of your home.