Search for Elder Law Attorneys
Do I Have to Transfer My Mother's Guardianship If She Moves States?
I am the court-appointed guardian of my mother. This guardianship was created by the courts in Pennsylvania. To better care for her I have moved her to an assisted living facility near my home in Ohio. The assisted living facility told me that I must get the guardianship transferred to Ohio from Pennsylvania. Why must this be done?
The assisted living facility may or may not be right because the answer depends on Ohio law. On the one hand, under the U.S. Constitution, states must give full faith and credit to the laws and court decisions of other states. On the other hand, courts only impose guardianship on people domiciled in their state or county. The Uniform Law Commission has proposed a uniform law to govern interstate guardianships that lays out a case-by-case approach.
We don’t know if Ohio has adopted the Uniform Act or has any other statutes or court decisions on this issue. Often the cases involve conflicts where one person is seeking guardianship in one state and someone else is seeking it in another state and the courts have to work out which state is appropriate. You, however, are wondering if the Ohio authorities must honor a Pennsylvania appointment of a guardian. Our guess is that they’ll want you to transfer the guardianship to Ohio because guardianship is thought of as a protective proceeding and unless the Ohio courts take jurisdiction, they can’t act to protect the ward. But you’ll have to check with an Ohio guardianship specialist to get an answer. To find an attorney near you, click here.
For more information about guardianships, click here.