NEW JERSEY INTRODUCES LEGISLATION GOVERNING INTERSTATE CONFLICTS IN ADULT GUARDIANSHIP CASES

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a NJ Guardianship Attorney

Legislation has been introduced and sponsored in New Jersey to establish uniform laws and procedures to address conflicts regarding adult guardianship cases involving multiple states and the Courts of multiple states.

Confusion has long plagued lawyers regarding this issue. Arguments and questions over which state has legal jurisdiction over the adult person have simply delayed the more important issue of establishing guardianship and issuing protective orders. This legislation seeks to remedy this and is, frankly, long overdue.
 
The bill, also known as the “New Jersey Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act,” would establish a New Jersey court to have jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or issue a protective order for a person if: New Jersey is that person’s “home state”; on the date the petition is filed or New Jersey is a state with a “significant connection”; or if all significant connection states have declined jurisdiction.

The legislation also sets forth procedures regarding the sharing of the information between courts concerning guardianship and protective proceedings. This information includes: testimony; evidence; evaluations and assessments; transcripts; and medical, financial, criminal or other relevant information.

The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging has found that these kinds of uniform laws regarding interstate guardianship will have a significant impact on reducing elder abuse. Elder abuse can include physical and sexual abuse, financial exploitation, psychological or emotional abuse, and neglect by others, abandonment, and sometimes self-neglect.

Currently, there is no state law in New Jersey governing the jurisdiction, transfer and enforcement of adult guardianships and protective proceedings. The bill is modeled after the “Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act,” which was approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and has been adopted in 30 states and the District of Columbia and has been introduced in seven others. The New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees, Legislative Committee and Elder Law Section have all voted to endorse this legislation.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey guardianship and elder care matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com/.

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