Once a Court has ruled that a person is “incapacitated” and has appointed a Guardian of his person and property, the Guardian has many responsibilities and also, there are certain restrictions on what a Guardian may do. The details are spelled out in New Jersey’s laws and court rules. Also, each County may have certain specific procedures of its own. One of these limitations is that the Courts of New Jersey have jurisdiction over the person of the individual who is under a guardianship, and a guardian must seek court permission to move the “ward” out of state.
A guardianship may last for many years, and there are certainly circumstances in which it is in the person’s best interest to move out of state. One example would be, if the Guardian needs to relocate for a new job or family circumstance. If the Guardian already resides out of state, s/he may find that the ward is running out of funds and could receive equivalent local care at much less expenses. There might be a specialized program out of state that is ideal for the individual, with a plan for the individual to become a resident of that state.
The Guardian typically would need to file a Verified Complaint with the same Court that entered the Guardianship judgment, seeking authorization to transfer their ward out of state. Very likely, the Court will want to see an updated report of the income and assets; a proposed care plan; an opinion from a physician or other involved professional that the transfer is medically safe and will promote the ward’s best interests; information from the receiving site that confirms the availability of a placement. The Court may appoint an attorney or a guardian ad litem for the incapacitated person. If the ward has family members who remain in New Jersey and who have an ongoing involvement with the ward, the Guardian may want to consider obtaining consents from those people as well. The Guardian needs to put together as strong a case as possible to increase the likelihood of a favorable ruling. Clearly, this process won’t happen overnight, and the matter could become contested.
The Guardian is accountable to the Court, as the Court has continuing jurisdiction over the person residing in New Jersey who is under guardianship. As in all things, careful planning can prevent a crisis. If a guardian needs to relocate, they should start the planning enough in advance to facilitate a smooth transition to the receiving state for the senior adult or other person under guardianship. Once there, new proceedings will be needed to establish the guardianship in the receiving state … there is a uniform Act [UAGPPJA], but each state has its own procedures for that.
Call for advice and representation on guardianship matters … 732-382-6070