Can guardianship be transferred to another state?

Mintman224 asked...

My long time girlfriend of 11+yrs. has been diagnosed with Wernicke's encephalopathy in May, and has been appointed a guardianship/conservator attorney here in Alexandria, VA. who is putting her in an assisted living home on or about June 18th. The attorney has informed me that no Medicaid will be made available until all her assets have been depleted, (she has approx. $36,000.00 in the bank). Both of us moved here from Nevada in 2006 and were planning on moving back this fall. she has no family here in Virginia, but she has a sister and two adult children living in Sacramento, CA and I'm wondering if it is possible to transfer her guard/conservatorship and care facility to one in Sacramento before her estate is completely depleted, being that I am afraid that if and when it is, she will be forced to stay here in Virginia permanently.

Expert Answer

I am not sure of the answer to your question, though I can give you some pointers. I understand what you wrote to mean that an attorney in Virginia was appointed as guardian/conservator of your girl friend. I believe that this guardianship/conservatorship is not transferrable to California. The guardian/conservator is a specific person, appointed in Virginia under Virginia law. Virginia law cannot determine who is a legally-appointed guardian/conservator under California law for a person living in California. Further, the Virginia guardian/conservator is not going to move to California, correct? So, as a practical matter, how could that Virginia guardian/conservator act in California? If your girl friend moves to California, I believe that a new conservator would have to be appointed in that state.

Is your problem that your need to get permission from the Virginia guardian/conservator to move your girl friend out of Virginia to California? Has the guardian/conservator refused to let her move? Have you, or others concerned with your-girl friend's well-being, demonstrated to the guardian/conservator why it would be in your girl friend's best interest to have her move to California? If you've done this and the guardian/conservator still refuses to authorize her to leave Virginia, your only remedy might be to file a court proceeding, challenging that decision.

Finally, the California law on qualifying for state Medicaid is out my area of expertise. I do not know if California would also require your girl friend to deplete her assets before she qualified for California Medicaid.