Types of Guardianships in Nevada
Guardianship is a legal way to protect people and their assets when the person is not able to handle their own affairs. Children under age 18 are considered legally incapacitated unless they are emancipated. Adults may be temporarily or permanently unable to handle their affairs or to care for themselves as the result of an accident or illness.
Courts can establish these types of guardianships in Nevada:
- Guardianship of the person
- Guardianship of the estate
- Guardianship of the person and estate
- Temporary guardianship
A guardian of the person is responsible for the welfare of the person which may include making medical decisions on the person’s behalf. The welfare of the protected person includes food, housing, clothing, and medical care. A guardian of the estate is concerned with preserving, protecting, and growing the person’s estate. Emergency guardianships are temporary court orders to prevent physical harm or financial loss that are likely to occur without immediate intervention.
In 2017, Nevada enacted the Protected Person’s Bill of Rights setting forth specific rights of individuals for whom a guardian is appointed and guardians must ensure that administrating the guardianship complies with the requirements.
Guardianship Fees Before Appointment
The cost of Nevada guardianship includes the cost of hiring an attorney to petition the court to establish the guardianship. The guardian is liable for attorney’s fees although the guardian is permitted to petition the court for permission to pay the fees from the estate of the protected person. The guardian must comply with specific rules about notifying the court of their intention to charge the estate and provide detailed records the court can use to determine whether the fees are reasonable.
Sometimes two different people petition the court to become guardian of a person or estate. If more than one person petitions the court to become guardian, only the party the court appoints may request compensation for attorney’s fees.
If the estate is over $20,000 most counties in Nevada have a filing fee; however, the fee may be waived if it is not affordable.
Costs After Guardianship is Established
After guardianship is ordered by the court, the cost of Nevada guardianship varies based on the fees charged and the services performed. In most cases, the attorney’s fees incurred at the onset are higher than the ongoing fees. Guardians may charge hourly rates and their fees can be paid monthly, if approved by the court.
The fees a guardian charges must be reasonable and not more than someone performing the same services for someone who is competent would be charged. All expenses must be reported to the court periodically. Despite these limitations, fees and charges can add up rapidly. For example, the entire estate must be appraised. Guardians charge fees for their time. Making appointments to have the estate appraised incurs fees and, if the guardian meets the appraiser to have assets appraised, the process incurs fees from both the appraiser and the guardian, including travel time.
Guardians can liquidate assets, including the protected person’s home, with court permission, to cover their fees. Although court oversight of expenses is important, the recordkeeping process takes time which increases the cost of having a guardian.
Are there any hidden costs during an emergency guardianship?
An emergency or temporary guardianship can incur substantial costs including payments to the guardian, guardianship attorney’s fees, the cost of appraising the assets of the estate, the cost of medical care, and special accommodations such as a nursing home authorized by the temporary guardian.
Nevada courts oversee the expenses incurred by guardians but oversight is not enough to prevent the costs from consuming modest estates and leaving a protected person impoverished. Proper estate planning and a durable power of attorney avoid the necessity of the court supervised guardianship process. Good planning saves time and money.
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.