Proposed legislation in New Jersey would, if passed, cause the state to join at least 30 other states in preventing episodes of so-called “granny snatching.”
In some situations, an elderly person needs someone else to make decisions on his or her behalf. Whether it’s because of Alzheimer’s disease or other causes of cognitive decline, elderly people often need an adult guardian to make their decisions for them.
The trouble in this situation occurs when one state names a guardian, then a family member who is unhappy with that decision takes the elderly person to a new state and asks the new state to name that family member the guardian. This is known as “Granny snatching.”
The proposed New Jersey law would prevent this from happening by only allowing the state courts in which the elderly person had lived for the previous six months to make a guardianship determination. Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws that allow only specific state courts to make a guardianship decision, and also ensure that each state will recognize the validity of guardianships enacted in other states. An additional seven states are now considering enacting this type of legislation, making it much more difficult for any episodes of granny snatching to occur.
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.