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Out-of-State Guardianship Planning - What You Need to Know

Are you in the process of creating your trust and have questions around out-of-state guardianship? The article will clear up any confusion.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

The process of nominating a guardian is a challenging but necessary responsibility when growing your family, one that can be even more difficult if you live in a different state or country from your loved ones. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering out of state guardianship which we will outline below. Keep reading to learn more about how to nominate a guardian if you live in a different state or country than your loved ones: 

Does the Legal Guardian I Appoint for My Children Have to Live in the Same State/Country as I Do?

The legal guardian you appoint for your children can live in a different state than you, though there are some restrictions to be aware of. For example, there are two states (Florida and Oklahoma) that have laws requiring an out-of-state guardian be closely related to the children. In other states, there are laws that require an in-state agent, or person who still resides in the original state, to receive legal paperwork on behalf of the guardian. 

It is also important to consider how guardianship impacts that person’s ability to move from state to state in the future. If your child ultimately goes to live with an out of state guardian, the guardian will be responsible for reporting to court if they move to another state down the line. The move must also fall under the guidelines of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act

These regulations were enacted to protect children from a number of circumstances, though they can complicate the need for out of state guardianship. If the person you want to choose lives in another state, it is crucial to take the legal steps necessary to validate the guardianship. You can do this one of two ways: by naming a guardian for your children in your Last Will and Testament, or by filing a guardianship proceeding. Read this guide if you want to learn more about how to choose a legal guardian for your children

Can I Name Someone Outside the United States as My Child’s Legal Guardian?

You can name someone outside of the United State as your child’s legal guardian, though it may be challenging to get court approval. The reason for this is because many U.S. courts will be concerned about approving a guardian that lives outside of the country, and having that guardian move abroad with the child or children. In these scenarios, the court would lose the ability to oversee the guardianship. While you trust this person with the care of your children, courts may be cautious when approving the guardianship.

If you are getting ready to welcome a new child, or maybe you recently have, nominating a guardian is a crucial step to take. There is no need to worry if you have recently moved away from family -- out of state guardianship is entirely possible. While it may require a little extra planning, you can still guarantee that your children will be taken care of by a trusted loved one no matter where you live.