First, many people worry about whether the incapacitated person will have to attend the hearing. Whenever possible, it is always best to have the alleged incapacitated person present at the hearing. N.J.S.A. 3B:12-24.1(e). However, the Court may agree that the person need not attend if it would be injurious to the individual or perhaps even others. If feasible, the professional affidavits should describe the reasons the person should not attend. The petitioner and the court-appointed attorney for the alleged incapacitated person are also required to certify as to this non-attendance.
Generally Guardianship proceedings are handled as a bench trial, or one before a single judge. Counsel may need to question witnesses on the witness stand and/or present evidence, and the Judge may have questions.
Finally, the Judge rules on the issue of incapacity, Guardianship, other items, and attorneys’ fees. It should be noted that if the Judge determines a limited Guardianship is warranted, the court will specify the limits pertaining to residential, educational, legal, financial, medical, and work-related decision-making.