A legal guardian is a person appointed by the court and has been given the authority to
make medical and financial decisions on behalf of an individual (the “protected person”) who is unable to care for themselves or their property. To obtain and administer a guardianship can be challenging.
A general guardianship can only be granted after clear and convincing proof (including medical evidence) reflects a person cannot manage their affairs. While a guardianship is an effective method of addressing the needs of a loved one who can no longer manage their affairs you should be aware that:
1. Guardianship can be expensive. An attorney will be appointed by the court to represent the protected person and, even if there is no objection to the appointment of a guardian, there are generally significant fees to file petitions, attend court and submit annual reports required of a guardian.
2. Guardianship takes time. NRS 159 requires a 20 day notice of a petitioner (an appointment of a personal guardian.) From the time you elect to move forward, it can easily take 30 days to file the petition, appear before the court and receive a determination if a guardianship is appropriate.
3. Obtaining guardianship is just the beginning. To assure the guardian is acting properly you must comply with the strict requirements of NRS 159. These include, but are not limited to: filing an inventory; obtaining approval of a budget; complying with notice requirements regarding any intent to move the protected person; preparation of an Annual Account and obtaining court approval of the same; obtaining permission to sell real property; obtaining approval of the sale of real and/or personal property; and filing an Annual Report (which is different from the Annual Account).
The inclusion of a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters and Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions are important parts of an estate plan that may help you avoid guardianship. However, if these documents haven’t been executed and your loved one becomes incapacitated, guardianship may be required. Having an experienced attorney familiar with Nevada Guardianship laws can make all the difference.
For more than 30 years, Attorney Lee A. Drizin has practiced in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, guardianship and real estate matters representing clients throughout the state of Nevada.
Drizin Law is providing this information for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. This information is based on general principles of Nevada law at the time it was created and you should be aware laws frequently change. Moreover, the laws affecting you may differ depending on the circumstances. You should consult with a qualified attorney in your own state or jurisdiction concerning your particular situation. Review of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.