Earlier this year, I reported on the case of Lillian Glasser, a wealthy New Jersey widow who had become embroiled in a multi-state legal feud (Florida, Texas and New Jersey) to determine where she should live and who should serve as her guardian. An article in today’s New York Times by Tina Kelly reports that Ms Glasser has been allowed to return home to New Jersey, having expressed strong desires to be allowed to do so.

While having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, Ms. Glasser has not been declared legally incompetent. Recently , Judge Alexander P. Waugh Jr. of the Middlesex County, New Jersey Superior Court’s probate division requested that a Texas probate court either terminate or suspend proceedings to determine competency and guardianship so that the matter could first be determined in New Jersey. This request was based upon the New Jersey court’s finding that Ms. Glasser’s life involved a far greater and more significant connection to New Jersey than to Texas. This finding was very similar to findings routinely made in child custody proceedings where significant contacts between a child and his or her surroundings in a particular state determine which state will have jurisdiction to make a custody determination.

As I mentioned in my earlier article in this blog, the Glasser case has particular significance because it underscores the great differences between laws in different states as pertain not only to determining competency but also to determining which state has jurisdiction over a guardianship matter. While some states may require that extensive documentary proof and testimony be used to establish residency for the purpose of asserting jurisdiction in order to determine guardianship, others such as Texas require only one’s physical presence in the state. Ultimately, the solution to controversies such has the Glasser probably lies in the passage of uniform guardianship statutes which will go along way to avoiding expensive and emotionally draining multi-state tugs of war .