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It is Time for Interstate Guardianships

What happens if a New York court has appointed you as the guardian of a loved one, and either you or that loved one needs to move to another state? Well, right now the answer is… it’s complicated.

Let’s face it, a guardianship proceeding in New York alone can be extremely complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. If you or a loved one need a guardian appointed in multiple jurisdictions, then you can expect to incur additional costs and extended time-frames. This situation can be a nightmare for families who simply want to relocate a loved one to another state in order to live and/or provide better care.

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Luckily steps have been taken by the New York State Bar Association, Elder Law Section to resolve this issue. Recently, a New York version of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act has passed both the State Senate and the State Assembly, and now awaits the signature of the Governor. The initial draft of the New York version of this law was prepared by the legislation committee of the Elder Law Section and was endorsed by the Executive Committee of NYSBA.

The need for a guardianship of an individual in another state is a common problem in New York. Since many New Yorker’s have homes and family members outside the state it may be necessary to have a guardian appointed in an additional state in order to take care of property or provide quality care for the incapacitated person.

If enacted, the Act will make interstate guardianship under both Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law and Article 17A of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act much less complicated to navigate. It would help streamline the procedure for which incapacitated persons and their caregivers seek initial guardianship appointments, transfer of an existing guardianship to another state or obtain recognition of out of state guardianship orders in New York.

Although the Act will not solve all the problems a guardian or incapacitated person may face when moving or traveling to another state, it is a significant step in the right direction.

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