Association of New Jersey, Inc.GANJI
is a not-for-profit organization of professionals, families, and
individuals committed to supporting guardians and other surrogate decision
makers in enhancing the lives of persons who require assistance.
Our Address: P.O. Box 546,
Chester, NJ 07930
Executive Director: Jane E. Gildersleeve, RG
The Annual Conference was
held on April 9, 2013 at the Forsgate Country
Club in Monroe Township.
The theme of the Conference
"Empowering the Guardian: Challenges in Advocacy"
The Opening Address was given
Cahill, Psy.D., Wisdom & Beyond LLC, Princeton, NJ.
Our Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors
Home Health Care
Laura Kellett Realty, LLC
Law Office of Sharon Rivenson Mark
Price, Smith & King, LLP
Rosner, Ershow-Levenberg, LLC
Joan Kakascik, Ed.D.
Life Choice Hospice
Mt. Bethel Village
Senior Home Care Services
Springpoint at Monroe Village
Nursing Staff, Inc.
& Avraham, CPA's LLC
Office of Donald D. Vanarelli
Atrium at Hamilton Park
Whitenack, Esq., a long-standing trustee of GANJI will be a 2011
Recipient of the Ann Klein Award of the Community Health Law Project on
October 20th. For information on the Awards presentation click
As a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith &
King, LLP, Ms. Whitenack devotes a substantial amount of time to trust
and estate litigation and elder and special needs law, particularly
surrogate arrangements to protect the elderly and people with
disabilities, special needs planning and Medicaid appeals. She is very
involved in several professional and non-profit organizations that serve
individuals with disabilities. Ms. Whitenack
has devoted her career to legally serving individuals with disabilities
and has donated her legal services without hesitation and represented
local non profits serving families with disabilities.
Ms. Whitenack is a past trustee of the New
Jersey Institute for Continuing Education (NJICLE) and a current member
of the NJICLE Advisory Board. She is a long-standing trustee of
Association of New Jersey, Inc. (GANJI). GANJI’s mission is similar to
the work Shirley has provided throughout her distinguished legal career
- to ensure optimum
independence for persons in need of guardianship services both to
enhance their lives and protect them through advocacy, education,
ethical standards, and the development of least restrictive
alternatives. She is also a member of the
Special Needs Alliance (SNA), an invitation-only nationwide alliance of
special needs planning attorneys. Through this group, Shirley is
recognized as a leader and sought out for her legal assistance to draft
special needs trusts and wills, legal assistance, guardianship, and
more. She is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Litigation
and Real Property, Trusts & Estates Section; the New Jersey State Bar
Foundation’s Program Development Committee, the Morris County Bar
Association and its Estates & Trusts Committee and is the New Jersey
State Reporter for the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI).
Most recently, Ms. Whitenack has been selected as incoming
secretary of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), which
is dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to
seniors and people with special needs.
Ms. Whitenack has received several awards
for her work in supporting those with disabilities including two from
the New Jersey State Bar Association – The Legislative Service Award in
2003 for her contribution in drafting and promoting revisions to New
Jersey’s guardianship statutes and a Distinguished Service Award in
2009. She also received GANJI’s Recognition Award for her contribution
in advocating for the civil rights of incapacitated adults.
GANJI Reform Becomes a Reality in New Jersey
New Jersey, January 20, 2006
amendments to New Jersey’s guardianship statutes were signed into law on
January 11, 2006 and are effective immediately. Attempting to improve
protections for the legal rights of New Jersey’s most vulnerable
citizens, the new legislation acknowledges different types of
guardianship, such as temporary guardianship, limited guardianship,
special guardianship and full guardianship. It requires all participants
in the guardianship process to consider and respect the decision-making
abilities of the incapacitated person and to encourage self-determination
where possible. GANJI actively supported the new reforms.
Some of the changes include:
of Capacity Provides that
either a ward or a guardian may petition the court for restoration to
the court to consider surrogate decision-maker designated by the
individual in a power of attorney, health care proxy or advance
directive in selecting a guardian.
priority to a “registered domestic partner” as well as a spouse in
the selection of guardian.
and Scope of Guardianship
the court to appoint a limited guardian when an incapacitated person
can do some but not all tasks to care for himself or herself.
the appointment of a temporary guardian on notice to the alleged
incapacitated person and his or her court-appointed attorney pending
the final hearing if there is risk of substantial harm.
the guardian to initiate litigation, including actions alleging fraud,
abuse, undue influence and exploitation, or defend litigation on
behalf of the alleged incapacitated person.
the guardian to engage in planning concerning public assistance
programs consistent with current law.
that a guardian is not legally obligated to provide for the ward from
the guardian’s own funds and is not liable to a third party for acts
of the ward solely by reason of the guardianship relationship.
that a guardian is not liable for injury to the ward from conduct of a
care provider unless the guardian failed to exercise reasonable care
in choosing the provider.
that generally a guardian is bound by the ward’s previously executed
health care power of attorney or advance directive unless otherwise
directed by the court.
the guardian, to the extent specifically ordered by the court for good
cause shown, to initiate voluntary admission of the ward to a state or
private psychiatric facility.
the guardian to sell or dispose of the ward’s personal property,
including vehicles, to meet the ward’s needs.
of the Guardian
the guardian to give due regard to the preferences of the ward and
encourage the ward’s participation in decision-making.
the guardian to personally visit the ward every three months or in
such intervals as deemed appropriate by the court and to maintain
sufficient contact to know the ward’s capacities, limitations and
the guardian to report annually to the court on the ward’s condition
and the ward’s estate, and specifies the content of the guardian’s
the guardian to abide by the “Prudent Investor Act” in handling
the ward’s assets.
January 12, 2006, legislation governing professional guardians also was
signed into law. The legislation, which becomes effective 180 days from
that date, requires those professional guardians with five or more wards
unrelated to them to register with the office of New Jersey’s Public
by Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq.