Guardianship Rules Amended to Require Background Searches

The New Jersey guardianship Court Rules have been amended to establish a policy for background screenings of certain proposed guardians of incapacitated persons.  The amendments are effective as of May 15, 2021, and are summarized as follows.

  1. R. 4:86-2(b) has been amended to require the petitioner to annex to the complaint an affidavit or certification setting forth the criminal and civil judgment history of the proposed guardian. If the complaint does not identify a proposed guardian, the certification shall be filed prior to the entry of the judgment of legal incapacity and the appointment of the guardian. The Administrative Director of the Courts will establish a background screening policy for proposed guardians of incapacitated adults, which may include fingerprinting.

Certain individuals and entities are exempt from the new requirement.  These include: parents of allegedly incapacitated children; spouses of, and those in a civil unions or domestic partnerships with allegedly incapacitated persons; certain temporary guardians; certain agencies; public officials appointed as limited guardians for medical purposes; financial institutions; and attorneys licensed and in good standing in the State of New Jersey.  The court, however, may require any of the above individuals and entities to undergo background screening as a prerequisite to appointment based on the individual facts of the case.

  1. R. 4:86-4 was amended to require the order to show cause to include provisions requiring any proposed guardian to comply with any applicable background screening policy, and to provide that a copy of the policy shall be provided with the order.
  2. R. 4:86-6 requires the guardian’s acceptance of appointment to include an acknowledgment of compliance with any background screening policy for proposed guardians of incapacitated adults promulgated by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

The amended Rules can be found at https://njcourts.gov/notices/2021/n210322a.pdf.