In an opinion issued on July 7, Grant County Department of Social Services v. Unified Board, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a series of standards for Wisconsin courts to follow when considering transfer of interstate guardianships to avoid conflicting with current state residency laws.
Vol. 78, No. 8, August
Legal News & Trends
Supreme court adopts new standards
for interstate guardianships
In an opinion issued on July 7, Grant County Department of Social
Services v. Unified Board, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a series
of standards for Wisconsin courts to follow when considering transfer of
interstate guardianships to avoid conflicting with current state
In the conclusion to her majority opinion, Justice Bradley said that
a county seeking to receive a guardianship should petition the foreign
court for transfer of the guardianship. The county would then petition
the local county court for receipt and acceptance of the guardianship.
During the process, the county should provide all parties with proper
notice of the intended transfer and of their rights. Bradley said if
there are no objections and the out-of-state court approves, the local
county should allow the guardianship to be "imported."
Bradley said if the steps are followed, in the instant case the Grant
County circuit court would be able to place the woman in a facility in
Grant County "without hearing a new petition for protective placement."
Further, she said, "This will avoid the residency requirement of Wis.
Stat. s. 55.06(3)(c)."
In a partial dissent, Justice Roggensack expressed concern over the
majority's move. "While the majority makes a valiant effort at trying to
solve what can become problematic when a ward lives in one state and the
guardian wishes to transfer the ward to Wisconsin, it does so without
the benefit of legislative input or even the benefit of the court's own
rulemaking," Roggensack said, adding that such decisions by the court
exceed the judiciary's constitutional powers. She described the majority
opinion as creating "what amounts to a statute for the interstate
transfer of guardianships and protective placements," which she said
should be left to the legislature.