Ronald Fatoullah & Associates - Elder Law

Uniform Adult Guardianship Act Signed Into Law


I am proud to report that Governor Cuomo just signed the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (the "UAGPPJA") into law. I was instrumental in bringing the legislation to New York and have worked hard for almost 4 years to make this the law in New York State. Several years ago, I was personally involved in an interstate guardianship matter which was very challenging, and costly for all parties concerned. After my experience I decided to devote the necessary time and energy to make the UAGPPJA law in New York State.

The UAGPPJA provides a set of uniform rules that address jurisdiction and related issues in adult guardianship cases when multiple states are involved. The UAGPPJA has widespread support from organizations such as the New York Bar Association, American Bar Association, Alzheimer's Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Guardianship Foundation, the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and the Council of State Governments.

Problems arise because under the United States Constitution, guardianship orders of one state are not entitled to the grant of full faith and credit by any other state. This means that guardianship orders of one state are not recognized in another state. Therefore, multiple states often claim jurisdiction of the same matter, and this makes "granny snatching" cases difficult to litigate. Granny snatching refers to the unauthorized removal or retention of a senior with limited capacity. The goal of the UAGPPJA is to have only one state with jurisdiction of a matter at any one time. Thus far, 38 states including New York have enacted the UAGPPJA.

Multi-state guardianship issues are not uncommon. These issues arise among snowbirds who may be residents of New York but spend their winters in Florida, caregivers who may be moving sick family members into or out of New York, individuals who may be utilizing out of state health care providers, individuals who may wander into or out of New York, and of course,
elderly persons who are victims of granny snatching into or outside of New York State.

The objectives of the UAGPPJA are as follows:

1) To identify one singular state court to adjudicate first time guardianship petitions;
2) To establish a system of transferring existing guardianship appointments from one state to an other; and
3) To establish a system of recognizing and enforcing guardianship orders of one state in another state.

The new law will become effective 180 days after it was signed by Governor Cuomo. I would like to thank my esteemed colleague, Ira Salzman, the New York State Bar Association, and the Alzheimer's Association, all of whom were instrumental in making the UAGPPJA law in New York State.

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