Transferring a guardianship from another state to Florida can be more complicated than a transfer between another two states. American families are increasingly becoming more mobile, and different states have varying rules regarding the guardianship process.
Before a move can occur, a guardian will need to consider if the state he or she is moving the ward to will recognize the guardianship in their current state. To best ensure the guardianship is correctly transferred, we recommend speaking with an attorney who is familiar with both state laws.
The reason, transferring a guardianship to Florida is more complicated than most other states is because Florida has not adopted the UAGPPJA (Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act). This act has been passed by 37 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and was enacted in part to streamline the transfer process. Any state that enacts the UAGPPJA will recognize the substantive findings of the original jurisdiction state regarding the guardianship within the state’s own guardianship proceedings. This means transferring the guardianship should be simple and only require some procedural paperwork.
In order for a guardian to move a ward under the UAGPPJA:
- The ward must be permanently relocating to the new state;
- The move cannot hurt the ward’s interests;
- There must be no opposition to the relocation; and,
- The guardian’s plans to move the ward must be “reasonable and sufficient.”
When both states comply with the UAGPPJA, the guardianship transfer involves the simple exchange of paperwork. The guardianship must first receive permission to transfer, and then file a request with the new home state. After a few notifications, the final transfer will usually be accepted and the guardian will be allowed to transfer the ward to the new state.
Some difficulty may arise in jurisdictions that both adopt UAGPPJA, but use different terminology for similar terms. Some jurisdictions may have additional requirements, such as requiring an evidentiary hearing when a transfer is requested.
The transfer becomes much more complicated when one of the states is not part of the UAGPPJA. Since Florida is a state that is not part of the UAGPPJA, the guardian will need to restart the entire guardianship process by petitioning a Florida court for a determination of incapacity and appointment of guardianship. A guardian may also need to petition the original state for permission to move the ward. This may require a guardian to be a part of two proceedings in two different states at the same time.
A guardian will need to take specific steps to ensure their ward maintains government support regardless of whether the state they are transferring to has accepted the UAGPPJA. These benefits could include Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.
Transferring a guardianship can be a complicated process and requires an experienced guardianship attorney to ensure the transfer occurs properly. For more information on how to transfer a guardianship to Florida, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today.