What is guardianship?

    • Guardianship is a protective mechanism allowing one individual to make decisions for another individual, when the individual cannot make decisions for him/herself.


    What does guardianship mean for adults with Developmental Disabilities?

    • Guardianship should be considered for an adult with a developmental disability who cannot make decisions for him/herself.
    • The legal stand is “being unable to govern and mange one’s own affairs.”


    Who should serve as guardian?

    • Typically, both parents seek to serve as co-guardians.
    • As parents age, siblings are sometimes added as co-guardians.
    • A guardian should: Have an interest in the individual with a disability and be willing to learn about the individual’s needs.


    What is the guardianship process?

    • An application needs to be submitted to the court.
    • The application includes the following: A verified complaint, two doctor’s certifications, and affidavit of assets.
    • Parents should meet with an attorney who will draft the necessary documents and comply with all court rules.


    Are there important timing rules for the guardianship process?

    • The application cannot be submitted to the court before the individual’s 18th
    • The court requires two doctors or one doctor and one psychologist to examine the individual within 30 days of the application being submitted to the court.
    • For example: If the first doctor examination is on June 1st – all of the documents must be submitted to the court before June 30th.


    What happens after the application is submitted to the court?

    • The court will set a hearing date
    • They will appoint an attorney for the individual with a disability
    • The Court Appointed Attorney will arrange to meet with the individual and proposed guardians and submit a report to the court.
    • Parents are responsible for the Court Appointed Attorney fees


    What are guardians responsible for?

    • Making decisions for the individual under guardianship
    • All decisions are of a legal, medical and financial nature
    • All decisions must be made in the best interest of the individual under guardianship
    • Guardians are to encourage the individual to be as independent as possible


     If you have Questions please call Alyssa Calixto at 973.808.9555 Ext. 612 or email at