Why Your State Should Adopt the Uniform Adult Guardianship And Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act
The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) addresses problems that can arise with interstate guardianships and conservatorships. In general, a guardian may be appointed by the court in a state where the individual is domiciled or is physically present. A conservator may be appointed by the court in a state where the individual is domiciled or has property. Determining the correct court can be confusing as multiple states could have jurisdiction. UAGPPJA provides a mechanism for clearly fixing this and related problems.
As of February 2014, 37 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have enacted UAGPPJA because:
- UAGPPJA clarifies state jurisdiction issues. Jurisdictional conflicts are common. Older Americans are especially at risk if they maintain homes in multiple states or if their children live elsewhere. UAGPPJA provides a clear process for determining which state may appoint a guardian or conservator. The adult’s home state has primary jurisdiction, followed by a state where the adult has a significant connection. Occasionally, another state may have jurisdiction if it is the more appropriate forum.
- UAGPPJA facilitates the transfer of guardianships. When a guardian moves from the protected person’s state, relitigating a guardianship’s terms can be costly and time-consuming. UAGPPJA eliminates unnecessary duplication by providing a simple process to transfer uncontroversial guardianships between states. Due process is preserved as all interested parties must receive notice and an opportunity to object.
- UAGPPJA enhances interstate recognition and enforcement of guardianship orders. Under UAGPPJA, a guardianship order from State A may be registered with the court in State B to ensure its recognition. This simple procedure enables a guardian to act in multiple states if necessary, for example, to sell the protected person’s real estate.
- UAGPPJA simplifies communication and cooperation between courts. The act enables courts and parties to communicate, maintain records, and respond to requests for assistance.
- UAGPPJA addresses emergency situations and other special cases. UAGPPJA allows a court in a state where a protected person is physically present to appoint a temporary guardian in case of an emergency. Furthermore, if a protected person has property located in the state, the local court can always appoint a conservator for that property.