Due to economic pressures, weather, and employment opportunities, more Northeast residents are looking to move out of state. According to a recent LendingTree study, as many as 17.5% of New Jersey residents are looking to move out of state. What is New Jersey residents’ most common destination state of choice? Florida. Regardless of whether or not you’re looking to move to the sunshine state or another state of choice, it is important to determine how the move will affect legal relationships that were established in New Jersey such as guardianship of another person. Those who have established a guardianship and are looking to move out of state should seek the guidance of an experienced New Jersey guardianship lawyer who can advise them of their legal rights and help guide them through the transition.
In the event that an adult becomes incapacitated and is unable to make decisions regarding their affairs due to a mental disability, the court may appoint a guardian to step in and manage their personal and/or financial interests as necessary. A guardianship establishes a legal relationship between the guardian and the incapacitated individual, also known as a ward.
Currently, there is no statute that guarantees full faith and credit to guardianships from different states so it is common for complexities to arise when a guardian or ward seeks to move out of state. Thankfully, many states have passed the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA), which simplifies the process of transferring a guardianship from one state to another. According to the Uniform Law Commission, when both states have adopted the UAGPPJA, it eliminates the unnecessary duplication of a guardianship process by providing a streamlined process to transfer it between adopting states.
To transfer a guardianship between states that have both adopted the UAGPPJA, the guardian must:
- File a petition in the state where the guardianship was established (State A) to ask the court to grant a provisional order that would allow him or her to seek an application in the state that he or she wishes to move the guardianship to (State B).
- With the provisional order, the guardian would petition the court of State B to accept the provisional order, review the guardianship that was previously established, and grant an order accepting the provisional order.
- He or she would then take the order from the court of State B to the court of State A, showing that the court of State B has accepted the order, and ask to be discharged from the guardianship in State A. This would allow the move to be completed to State B.
- The court of State A can then grant an order discharging the guardianship in State A. The court in State A will also decide whether the guardian should be required to file an accounting of any financial transactions the guardian made on behalf of the ward during the time of the guardianship in State A.
- The individual would then provide the State A final order to the court in State B, which can then accept the order and establish the guardianship in State B.
However, if in cases where the guardian and/or ward is moving to or from a state that has not passed the UAGPPJA, including Florida, Texas, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Michigan, the guardianship process may have to be started over again from scratch. Relitigating the need and terms for the guardianship can be costly and time-consuming. States have varying rules and procedures for declaring a person incapacitated.
If you are a New Jersey resident looking to move out of state or if you are a resident of another state looking to move to New Jersey with a prior established guardianship, it is important to consult an experienced New Jersey guardianship lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the process. The New Jersey guardianship lawyers at Hunziker Jones & Sweeney, P.A. are experienced in handling various matters relating to guardianships, including the transfer of a guardianship across state lines. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form.