Senate Passes Bill to Facilitate Care for the Elderly

April 30, 2013

The New York State Senate today gave final passage to a bill that would help make it easier and less expensive for legal guardians caring for the elderly or other relatives living out-of-state to carry out their responsibilities. 

The measure (S2534), sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon (R- Nassau) assists New Yorkers caring for adults in other states, as well as out-of-state individuals caring for elderly New Yorkers when they seek approval to fulfill health care, financial, and other legal responsibilities across state lines. It would create a registration form that would be used uniformly by participating states and replace a costly legal process that often required guardians to hire lawyers. 

“I am pleased New York is poised to join other states in adopting uniform rules to protect incapacitated adults, who are some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Senator Hannon, Chairman of the Health Committee. “This legislation will also help guardians and caregivers by reducing the existing burdens and costs involved in moving or caring for loved ones across state lines.”

If signed into law, New York would become the 37th state to adopt a uniform standard for out-of-state legal guardianship of the elderly.

Specifically, the bill, which is supported by the AARP, would: 
> Make it easier to enforce protective and guardianship orders by authorizing guardians or conservators to register their New York orders in other states; 
> Create a process to transfer a guardianship or conservatorship to another state and for accepting a transfer.  This would help eliminate the expense and delay of starting a new proceeding;
> Establish a process to determine which state has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or conservator if there is a conflict; and

> Protect the elderly from abuse and “granny snatching” by preventing someone from wrongfully taking control and assets from an elder, taking the elder across state lines and being named a guardian.  In these situations, courts could decline the guardianship due to unjustifiable conduct and penalize abusers.

The bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration for signing it into law.