When the need for a guardianship arises, the request is filed in the state having jurisdiction over the person in need, known as the protected person. Once a guardianship is granted, that Court retains jurisdiction over the guardianship. The guardian is required to file an accounting every two years, accounting for the protected person’s well-being and finances, which is filed in the Court that retained jurisdiction over the case.
A protected person may decide to move from the State that has jurisdiction over the guardianship. When the protected person decides to move states, or when the guardian determines that a relocation is in the best interest of the protected person, the guardian must provide notice and get permission to relocate from the Court that has jurisdiction over the guardianship.
The good news is that most states have enacted the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protected Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (“UAGPPJA”) to make transferring guardianships within the United States simplified. The process still requires several steps, but guardianships should be universally recognized among the states that follow the UAGPPJA.
First, the guardian will file with the Court that has jurisdiction over the case and ask for permission to relocate. The request to relocate will be provisionally granted and the guardian will be given one (1) year to finalize the transfer. The guardian will then file in the new state and ask the new state to accept jurisdiction of the guardianship. This will be provisionally accepted pending termination of the guardianship in the previous state. The guardian will then file a final accounting and a request to permanently terminate the guardianship in the first state. Once that is granted, the guardian will provide a copy to the new state and the new state will properly have jurisdiction of the guardianship.
This procedure normally requires having an attorney in both states so they can maneuver through the process of transferring and receiving the guardianship. Some states may have simplified options to transfer a guardianship which will need to be considered on a state-by-state basis. Regardless of the options, the guardianship in the previous state needs to be terminated and the Court needs to be informed that the protected person has moved outside the State. Guardians have fiduciary duties to the protected person and the Court can sanction a guardian who does follow the rules of a guardianship.
A guardian should discuss the options and requirements of relocation with an attorney when considering moving outside of the State with a protected person.