New Jersey Supreme Court Notice – Changes To Guardianship Requirements During COVID-19 Crisis

The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved temporary adjustments to the process for seeking an adjudication of incapacity of an adult and the appointment of a guardian of the person and/or estate.

Based on social distancing requirements, the court rules and regulations governing the procedures for obtaining guardianship over incapacitated adults are relaxed to permit examinations and interviews of alleged incapacitated persons (AIP) to be conducted by video or phone. In-person service requirements are suspended, and court pleadings may be served by certified mail, or the contents of the complaint may be read aloud to AIP. In addition, the court-appointed counsel and guardian ad litem may interview the AIP by video or phone instead of meeting in-person, as required by the court rules. The Court now also permits alleged incapacitated persons to participate in all subsequent guardianship hearings via video or phone since in-person court proceedings are currently suspended.

The NJ Supreme Court Notice is attached here – [gview file=””]

UPDATED ON APRIL 17, 2020 – Counsel in Union County received the following advisory describing how the new remote notary law will be implemented when applying for Letters of Guardianship from the Union County Surrogate:

The Governor has signed into law the ability to avoid having papers physically signed in front of a Notary Public during the pandemic.  The law allows for signatures to be done either remotely by video conference, when someone has personal knowledge of the signatory or in situations when the person notarizing the document has “satisfactory evidence” of the identity of the signatory.  This can be achieved by having the person sign the qualifying document and mail it back with a copy of their driver’s license, passport or other form of picture ID with a signature.

The Surrogate is authorizing us to receive signed qualification papers from guardians without a notary signature.  When the guardians are the parents of an incapacitated person I am not requiring them to provide picture ID’s.

For other guardians that are related to the incapacitated person such as a son, cousin, brother, I would simply require a copy of a photo ID.  Again, this can be done by them taking a picture of the ID and emailing it to me along with the signed qualification papers. I’m not going to keep the ID, just want to make sure the signatures are similar.

Please let your clients know that if they have received the guardianship qualification papers and are waiting to get them notarized, they should forgo the notary and just email them to me and mail the original to the Surrogate’s office to my attention.

I want to try and process the paperwork sooner than later and get these guardians the Letters and Certificates as soon as possible.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Lisa Taylor Brophy, Esq., Counsel, Union County Surrogate

For additional information concerning guardianships and fiduciary services, visit:

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