On July 5th, 2012, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett signed into law new elder law protections commonly referred to as the “granny snatching” law. A strong majority of almost 40 other states have already enacted similar legislation, which aims to prevent jurisdictional conflicts involving adult guardianships and conservatorships.
Granny snatching is the phrase used to refer to a situation where an elderly family member needs someone appointed as their Guardian or conservator. When a state makes this appointment, family members sometimes try to get around the law by taking the elderly family member and moving him or her out of state. Once in the new state, those family members may then ask the new state court to name a new guardian or conservator. Such conflicts in the past have led to lengthy court battles. The new laws aim to strengthen protections for the elderly across all states which have adopted such legislation, not just Pennsylvania.
Though the law doesn’t go into effect until early September, Pennsylvania will soon have a uniform way of recognizing adult guardianships made in other states for an incapacitated adult residing in Pennsylvania. Earlier this year New Jersey adopted similar legislation, and New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and Mississippi have either already adopted similar laws or will by the end of the year. Currently about 10 states have not adopted the so-called granny snatching laws, including Texas.