As previously mentioned here, the guardian must be aware of reporting requirements that become effective once he or she is appointed. There are three filings that the guardian must make with the Surrogate in New Jersey, which interested parties will have the right to access:
1. Inventory of the incapacitated person’s income and assets. The form requires a listing of locations and values for several categories of property, including real property; stocks, bonds, and other investment accounts; cash; and pensions, annuities, and retirement accounts. A listing of the sources and amounts of monthly income is also required. The information required by this form is substantially the same as the certification of assets included with the filing of the initial guardianship proceeding. It must be filed within 90 days of the judgment.
2. Annual accounting. Within two weeks of the anniversary of the guardianship judgment, the guardian must file an account of the guardianship estate. The form of the accounting required may vary depending on the size of the estate, with more detail being required for larger estates. In general, much of the same information as listed on the inventory must be provided, except the guardian must show any changes in the assets over the course of the past year, including the sale of any property. A listing of all expenses of the guardianship estate must also be included. It is therefore critical that the guardian maintain accurate and detailed records throughout the year.
3. Report of well-being. If the accounting covers the “estate” aspect of the guardianship, the report of well-being covers the “person” aspect. Filed with the accounting, the guardian must provide information about the incapacitated person’s overall situation, including the person’s health, living arrangements, and social activities. The guardian must also attach a recent medical exam of the incapacitated person.
Once filed, these reports will be reviewed by the New Jersey State guardianship monitoring program, and, as stated above, they will be available for inspection by interested parties. The guardianship judgment may require the guardian to serve interested parties as well. Therefore, the guardian’s actions will be subject to scrutiny, and, particularly if the guardianship estate is substantial or there is anything complex about caring for the incapacitated person, professional assistance, which is payable from the guardianship estate, may be appropriate.