Article 81 Guardianships can be a helpful tool for planning for a loved one’s care. However, it is often the case that the same factors that necessitate the Guardianship make obtaining jurisdiction over an alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”) difficult.
Petitions seeking Guardianships are often complicated when a person is moved from their home to a care facility or into the home of a friend or relative located in a different state. The issue of determining the appropriate court or venue under these circumstances is particularly common in the tristate area, where families and care facilities are often spread out over New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
Keane & Beane, P.C. encountered this issue in a recent Guardianship application, wherein the firm represented a petitioner seeking a guardianship over a long-time New York County resident who was hospitalized in New Jersey for an extended period. Complicating matters, the New Jersey hospitalization coincided with the need for a guardianship over the AIP’s person and property.
The New York Uniform Guardianship Act provides that New York State has jurisdiction to appoint a Guardian if New York is the AIP’s “home state”, or if New York is a “significant-connection state” and several other factors are met. Typically, Petitioners will rely on the “home state” language pursuant to New York Mental Health Law §83.03(e), which defines a person’s “home state” as follows:
“[T]he state in which the respondent was personally present, including any period of temporary absence,
for at least six consecutive months immediately before the filing of a petition for a protective order or the
appointment of a guardian of the person; or if none, the state in which the respondent was physically present,
including any period of temporary absence, for at least six consecutive months ending within the six months
prior to the filing of the petition.”
However, the six-month “home state” requirement becomes an issue when, as in the firm’s recent case, the AIP has been hospitalized for an extended amount of time in another state but ultimately plans to return to New York.
To obtain jurisdiction in New York, Keane & Beane, P.C. argued successfully that New York was a “significant connection state” pursuant to MHL §83.03(e). The firm presented evidence establishing that the AIP’s property and businesses were primarily located in New York and that the AIP was a long-time New York County resident and successfully argued that New York had jurisdiction despite an extended absence from the state, benefiting both the petitioner and AIP as New York was the more favorable jurisdiction.
Should you have any questions regarding the jurisdictional issues associated with a Guardianship proceeding please contact Christopher Aventuro or Zachary Oliva.