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Lawyers praise Guardianship Act

New York State Bar Association President David M. Schraver praised Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state Legislature for enacting New York’s new Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.

With an increasingly mobile society, multi-state guardianship disputes are becoming more and more common, making it imperative states amend their guardianship laws to include more opportunity for interstate cooperation, Schraver said.

The act creates a clear, uniform process for establishing a legal relationship between incapacitated adults and their caregivers, thus reducing the potential for litigation, reducing disputes among states and reducing the possibility of abuses.

“Under the U.S. Constitution, the guardianship decisions of one state are not necessarily enforceable in another state,” said Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody LLP). “This often results in significant legal obstacles when an incapacitated person moves or is transported from one state to another.”

A key provision of the New York measure recognizes the jurisdiction of the home state of an incapacitated individual for guardianship purposes, regardless of the person’s physical location. In most cases, the act would require states to cede jurisdiction in guardianship cases to the individual’s home state and cooperate with the home state with regard to the collection of evidence. It also would provide procedures for the transfer of guardianship between states and for the registration of guardianship orders from one state to another.

With the addition of New York, 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have now enacted some form of the act.