New York Guardianships Can Involve Other State Proceedings

New York Guardianship cases, like those in other states, control issues regarding persons who are incapacitated within the jurisdiction of the local State Court. Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”) 81.05 provides that a Guardianship proceeding shall be commenced in the county where the person alleged to be incapacitated (AIP) resides or is physically located. Generally, if an AIP or a person who has been found to be incapacitated (IP) physically moves to another state, a proceeding in the new state needs to be commenced for a guardianship appointment. Since Guardianship appointment jurisdiction has historically been local, families have faced tremendous hardship and confusion when an AIP or IP moves or is taken from state to state.

The New York Probate Lawyer Blog recently discussed a new law contained in Article 83 of the MHL that allows New York to participate with other states in transferring or accepting out of state guardianships. Thus, under the new law, a New York Court may accept a proceeding for a guardian that is transferred from another state. See MHL 83.33.

In a recent case decided by Dutchess County Justice James D. Pagones decided on June 13, 2014 (Matter of B.A.M.W.), the Court was asked to accept a transfer of a Guardianship from Texas. While Judge Pagones recognized the new statute and the underlying purpose that it served, the Court found that all of the procedural steps needed for the transfer were not followed. Thus, the Court dismissed the petition without prejudice to allow the petitioner to submit additional papers.

As a New York Guardianship Lawyer, I have assisted many families who have filed petitions to have a Guardian appointed for a loved one who has suffered from an illness such as dementia or a severe injury. Sometimes, these cases can involved multi-jurisdictional concerns particularly where the family either wants to move the IP closer to their home which is in another state or to transfer an out of state Guardianship to New York without having to start the appointment process from the beginning.

New York Guardianship Attorney Jules Martin Haas, Esq. has been representing clients in New York Guardianship Proceedings, throughout the past 30 years in New York, including Queens and Nassau Counties. If you or someone you know is involved with or has questions about a New York Guardianship matter, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 or email:, for an initial consultation.

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