COURT HOUSE — Cape May County Surrogate M. Susan Sheppard, Esq. is seeking volunteers to be part of the Guardianship Monitoring Program in Cape May County. The state-wide initiative calls for volunteers to monitor the well-being of the elderly and disabled who rely on legal guardians to manage their financial and health-related decisions.
Surrogate Sheppard said, “Volunteers are the foundation of this program – The Guardianship Monitoring Program enables Attorneys, Accountants, Retired Professionals, Students and others to volunteer to assist and protect our most vulnerable residents. We are in need of volunteers for our program in Cape May County.”
“As a society, we must protect those who are most vulnerable, it is our responsibility to ensure that those who have guardians appointed are well taken care of in Cape May County,” added Surrogate Sheppard. According to Census data, the population of elderly and disabled Americans will grow dramatically in coming years. Surrogate Sheppard stressed, “It is essential that we take steps to protect those with guardians by enhancing the level of oversight of legal guardians which this program does – but volunteers are the key to its success.”
Legal guardians in New Jersey are appointed by the court and are responsible for making decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person about personal and medical care, meals, transportation and even where the person lives. Guardians take control of the person’s assets, manage budgets, pay debts and make financial and investment decisions.
Legal guardians can be family members, friends, attorneys and others. They not only manage the affairs of people they assist, but also must report annually on the financial status and the general well-being of the individual in their charge. Written reports are filed each year with the county surrogate. The annual reports are designed to provide the courts with key information on the quality of financial management.
Surrogate Sheppard said, “Volunteers work directly in my office to review guardian files and the annual reports.” Volunteers receive detailed training from court staff on how to read and analyze the guardians’ annual reports and how to gather data for the new computer system. Volunteer monitors flag inconsistent or incomplete financial information, which is then reported to judges for appropriate action.
To access the volunteer application go to: www.njcourts.com/guarianship. Questions can be submitted to: email@example.com or call Cape May County Surrogate M. Susan Sheppard, Esq. at 609-463-6667.
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Volunteers Sought For County Guardianship Monitoring Program