Memo to Vicinages: Guardianship Background Screening Policy Implementation Pursuant to Directive 11-21

The Supreme Court has approved a background screening policy for certain proposed guardians of incapacitated adults. The Court also has amended Rule 4:86 (“Action for Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person or for the Appointment of a Conservator”) so as to implement the policy. As approved by the Judicial Council, a new Certification of Criminal and Civil Judgment History has been promulgated, along with revised versions of a number of other court forms.

Proposed guardians in matters filed on or after May 15, 2021 will be subject to this new background screening policy. Directive #11-21 (“Guardianships of Incapacitated Adults – Background Screening Policy for Proposed Guardians; New and Revised Court Forms”) promulgates the new policy as well as the new and revised forms. This memo outlines the steps necessary for implementation of the policy.

Steps to Implementation

As soon as practicable, each vicinage is required to take the following steps to implement the policy:

  1. Conduct implementation meetings with relevant vicinage stakeholders, including the Assignment Judge, Trial Court Administrator, Probate Part Judge, County Surrogate, County Sheriff, court managers and staff. The goal of these meetings is to familiarize stakeholders with the policy and its requirements, confirm local workflows, and prepare for future training sessions of relevant Judiciary staff and partners.
  2. Conduct training sessions for managers, staff, and County Surrogate offices so as to educate staff on their responsibilities. The central office will provide training materials for use during these training sessions.
  3. Conduct bench-bar meetings with the probate sections of county bar associations. These meetings will educate outside attorneys on the background screening policy, amendments to Rule 4:86, and related new and revised forms. They also will provide a forum to address issues or concerns from the bar related to the policy.

Guardian Background Screening Authorization and Checklist

Attached for internal use is a new form Proposed Guardian Background Screening Authorization and Checklist (CN 12707) to be completed by the Probate Part judge at the time of entry of the Order for Hearing. As noted, the policy and other new and revised forms are promulgated with Directive #11-21.

Questions regarding this memorandum should be directed to the Civil Practice Division at (609) 815-2900 ext. 54900.

***Attached Below: Proposed Guardian Background Screening Authorization and Checklist (CN 12707)***

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: April 29, 2021

Memo to Vicinages – Guardianship Background Screening Policy Implementation Pursuant to Directive 11-21 – As Signed – 04-29-21.pdf