If you’ve been appointed a guardian or conservator in a state other than New York, but are seeking to exercise your powers as guardian in New York State, you’ll need to register various papers in New York first (unless you petition anew). Otherwise, you won’t have the legal authority to exercise your powers as guardian in the Empire State.
I’m a big fan of checklists. This step-by-step guide makes the process easier.
- You must give “notice to the appointing court of an intent to register”. (See MHL § 83.35). There is no clear way to do this, but I suggest drafting a Notice in the same form as the local state’s notice of motion and then filing it with the court that appointed you guardian. For example, a Notice of Motion in New Jersey looks something like this. The body of the Notice could read something like this:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the undersigned intends to register the guardianship judgment in the above-captioned proceeding in the State of New York by filing as a foreign judgment in a court within the State of New York certified copies of the judgment and letters of guardianship, and an exemplified copy of the judgment, pursuant to New York Mental Hygiene Law Article 83 and New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 54.
- You need to obtain a certified copy of the “letters of office” appointing you guardian. The “letters of office” may go by some other name in your home state, such as “letters of guardianship”. (See MHL § 83.35). You can obtain the letters of office from the court that appointed you guardian.
- You will need a certified copy of the “order” appointing you guardian. The statute uses the term “order”, but your state may have issued a judgement or some other legal document that is analogous to the legal document appointing you guardian that the statute calls for. (See MHL § 83.35).
- You will also need an “authenticated”, i.e., exemplified copy of the order, judgement, or otherwise, appointing you guardian. (See CPLR § 5402). The New Jersey Courts website gives excellent definitions of types of copies and court authentication.
- You should prepare an Affidavit in Support of Registration (or if you are an attorney in New York assisting a client an Attorney’s Affirmation will do the trick). Course materials from a 2016 Elder Law Update Continuing Legal Education hosted by the New York State Bar Association includes excellent form affidavits and affirmations beginning on the 107th page of the PDF.
- The papers can be filed in the office of any county clerk in New York State. (See CPLR § 5402). You can visit the clerk yourself, mail the papers, or hire a court runner. But you should call the clerk’s office beforehand for their particular filing procedures, requirements, and hours of operation. In any case, you will be required to purchase an Index Number for $210.00.
- The Clerk should give you a receipt, and hopefully, some other printout confirming the registration. Keep this for your records. It’s proof of registration.
Once the documents are officially registered, the out-of-state guardian may exercise in New York all powers authorized in the order of appointment except as prohibited by New York law and subject to any conditions imposed upon nonresident parties where the guardian is not a New Yorker.