How Do I Have a Loved One Declared Mentally Incompetent in the State of New Jersey?

In the State of New Jersey, the law states that a mentally incompetent individual may receive placement under guardianship by the courts unless that individual created a valid power of attorney prior to becoming incompetent. A power of attorney grants a designated individual the right to make all decisions relating to the protection and the care of the individual should they become incompetent. To declare a person mentally incompetent, a complaint must be filed and an Order to Show Cause must be submitted to establish guardianship.

senior looking confusedWhat is a Valid Power of Attorney?

A valid power of attorney is one that was granted by a competent individual to another competent person. To create this type of power of attorney, the person granting it must possess the mental competency to create and enter into a binding contract. A power of attorney that is created by a person who does not understand what they are doing due to mental incompetence is not considered to be valid.

What if There is No Valid Power of Attorney?

If a valid power of attorney was not put into place prior to an individual developing mental incompetence, the individual seeking to officially deem that individual mentally incompetent will be required to seek out guardianship over the person.

How Do I Get Guardianship Over a Loved One?

In the State of New Jersey, a person who seeks to gain guardianship over a loved one must start with having a medical and a psychological examination performed on the person in question. Once you have obtained the formal reports from the physician and either the psychologist or the psychiatrist, you should file a complaint with the Order to Show Cause and include those reports to the court. You should also outline the individual’s living arrangements, the assets that they possess, their income, the benefits that they receive, and any other type of relevant information.

You will also need to detail why you feel the individual is mentally incompetent. You should include a medical history, an outline of the behaviors that they engage in, the types of decisions that they have made and their failure to act that lend to demonstrating their incompetence. A hearing with then take place. A decision may or may not be made at the initial hearing. If it is made, you will be granted guardianship. If not, the judge will outline what is needed next to continue in the case.


Declaring an individual mentally incompetent may prove to be a challenging undertaking in the State of New Jersey. This is especially true if a valid power of attorney is not in place. This will result in hefty expenses and complicated proceedings to become the person’s legal guardian. When making these types of decisions and engaging in these types of pursuits, it is essential to have a certified senior advisor on your side. This professional will help you maneuver through all the necessary processes involving your loved one. For more information, contact us here at Beacon Senior Advisors today by calling: 973-384-1174

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