By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Freehold, NJ Guardianship Attorney

What if you’re the guardian of a family member who dies and now are executor of his or her estate. What must be done to discharge your legal duty as guardian? Seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? Well, it is and it isn’t.

You may be able to discharge your guardian’s bond simply by supplying the bonding company with the death certificate. However, it’s more likely they will require an order from the chancery court which appointed you as guardian formally discharging you from the bond. This process is not difficult, but again requires an order of the court.

To best protect yourself as guardian, here is what I suggest. File an updated accounting of the property under your control. It’s called a report of guardian of property through date of death. Submit this report to the Surrogate with a letter informing their office of the death of the ward (seems silly since probate was opened and you’re the executor, but that’s what you need to do), prepare a form of Order discharging yourself as guardian and releasing yourself from the bond, and provide a copy of the death certificate to them. I would notify all interested parties of your application to cover your bases.

To discuss your NJ guardianship matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.