Filing for Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person

Adults with impaired capacity may need someone to become their legal guardian.  An applicant, typically the proposed guardian, must file a Complaint seeking guardianship, along with two separate doctor's certifications outlining diagnosis and prognosis.  The Court will appoint an attorney for the alleged incapacitated person and file a detailed report with the Court.  A Superior Court judge will then review all documents and may hold a hearing.  He or she will make a decision regarding guardianship.  

The Hunterdon County Surrogate's Court can assist pro-se applicants (applicants without an attorney) with the process in straightforward guardianship cases.  


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Application Types:

A Title 30 (DDD) application is one where the alleged incapacitated person is developmentally disabled and eligible for, or receiving services from, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). (Autism, Down's Syndrome, etc.) 

A Title 3B (DD) application is one where the alleged incapacitated person is developmentally disabled, but is not eligible for or receiving services from DDD. (Autism, Down's Syndrome, etc.) 

Title 3B entails all other applications  (accident-related injury; dementia, Alzheimer's, etc.) 

Types of Guardianship

Guardianship of the Person

Entails the ability to make medical, legal, educational, and vocational arrangements and decisions for the incapacitated person.

Guardianship of the Property

Entails the ability to make financial arrangements and decisions for the incapacitated person.

Guardianship of the Person & Property

Entails the ability to make all of the above-arrangements and decisions.

Limited Guardianship

Entails very specific decision-make abilities.  


  1. Determine what type of Guardianship you will be filing for. Call our office if guidance is needed.  
  2. Print the appropriate checklist below. This will show you the step-by-step process of filing for guardianship.
  3. Complete the appropriate guardianship packet. You must make sure that all fillable boxes have been filled. Be sure to double-check this, as not all of the boxes will auto-fill each document. Any blank lines in the documents stay blank for the court to complete. 
  4. Remember to date and sign your documents. We require originals.

*** AS OF MAY 22, 2023 *** 

The forms below are currently under revision.  You may look at them for reference, but please do NOT submit them to the Surrogate's Court or they will be returned to you.  We will replace the forms as soon as revisions are complete.  Thank you for your understanding.  

Private Pro Se Guardianship

Private Pro Se Guardianship Checklist (DOC)

Private Guardianship Pro Se Packets

DDD Pro Se Guardianship

DDD Pro Se Guardianship Checklist (DOC)

DDD Guardianship Pro Se Packets

DDD Supporting Certifications

Is the alleged incapacitated person eligible Can't decide whether you should use the DDD application or not?  Here's the differences:

Filing Fee Waived $200 Filing Fee
More flexible with documents requiredRequires 2 doctor’s certifications with exam dates within 30 days of your filing date
Pro-bono (free) attorney assigned for the alleged incapacitated personYou must pay for the attorney the Court is required to assign to the alleged incapacitated person
Minimum of 120-day wait between filing your Complaint and the guardianship hearingRoughly 4-6 weeks between filing your complaint and the guardianship hearing

Pro SE Packets to Add a Guardian or Substitute a Guardian

Guardianship Training

Fingerprinting and Background Checks for Proposed Guardians