Lawmakers in the New Jersey Legislature are considering a new bill that numerous other states have already adopted. The proposed law, known as the New Jersey Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, would expand the state’s elder law protections by ensuring that adult guardianships created in New Jersey would apply in most other states.
Currently, New Jersey and about 20 other states do not have a law that specifically addresses jurisdictional conflicts over adult guardianships. This sometimes allows for “granny snatching” to take place. Essentially, granny snatching is when an elderly person, typically suffering from Alzheimer’s or other medical conditions, has a guardian appointed to make decisions on the elderly person’s behalf. The guardian is typically the elderly persons family member, such as a child or grandchild. However, a different family member might not agree with the New Jersey court’s decision, and may want to acquire guardianship rights independently. In some situations, a family member can take the elderly person out of the state and then ask a different state’s court to appoint a guardian. If this happens, the New Jersey guardian will effectively be unable to exercise guardianship powers.
The proposed law would ensure that New Jersey joins 30 states, and the District of Columbia, which currently recognize adult guardianships from other states. Another seven states are currently considering similar legislation.