Gov. McDonnell signed Senate Bill 750 enacting the Uniform Adult Guardianship
and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (the Act) on March 25, 2011, with
conforming changes to accommodate Virginia law and existing statutes. Effective
July 1, 2011, the Act provides much needed mechanisms for resolving multistate
jurisdictional disputes which have been arising in adult guardianship and
conservatorship litigation with increasing frequency. The Act is located in new
Chapter 10.1 of title 37.2 of the Virginia Code (Va. Code. Ann. § 37.2-1031
In the event of a conflict, the Act provides a process for determining the
state that has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or conservator, and procedures
for transferring a guardianship or conservatorship to another state. The goals
are to save time and costs while protecting incapacitated persons and their
property from potential abuse. The Act designates the individual’s “home state”
as the state with primary jurisdiction, followed by a state where the individual
has a “significant connection,” based on factors such as the location of the
individual’s family, the length of time the individual has been present in the
state, and the location of the individual’s property.
The Act also provides for registration and enforcement of orders from other
states, and has several provisions that facilitate cooperation and communication
with out-of-state courts in guardianship and conservatorship matters. In order
to deal with emergency situations, the Act allows a court where an incapacitated
person is physically present to take temporary protective actions including the
appointment of a guardian and a conservator for property in the acting state.
The Act also includes provisions allowing a court to decline to exercise, or
limit its jurisdiction, where a person seeking to invoke jurisdiction has
engaged in unjustifiable conduct.
Overall, the Act should reduce the uncertainty and costs associated with
interstate conflicts in guardianship matters; remove incentives to engage in
"forum shopping" that may be harmful to the incapacitated person; and provide
welcome uniformity of the law across the enacting states.
The Act was previously adopted in 21 jurisdictions: the District of Columbia,
Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, North
Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Arizona, Tennessee,
Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska and West Virginia. The Act is pending in
Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi,
Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Vermont.
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