How a Las Vegas Conservatorship/Guardianship Works
Many consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to draft a solid Las Vegas Conservatorship. When it is time for the thought talk, call Wood Law Group.
What Does Conservatorship Mean?
When you have a loved one who is slowly losing their capacity to handle their affairs due to aging or other health conditions, it is natural to worry. You might already be doing a good job caring for their immediate physical needs. Still, at some point, you might need to make important decisions about their health or finances and act on their behalf.
As a close relative or any other qualified person, you can assume authority over an incapacitated adult person’s affairs with the permission of the court in most states. This process is commonly known as conservatorship or guardianship.
Upon your appointment as a conservator, you are empowered to make personal, medical, and financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated or protected person to the extent the court allows.
The procedure and requirements for conservatorship vary with each state. You’ll need to follow the stipulated process under your state laws before the relevant court can confirm your appointment.
If you’re in Las Vegas, NV, the information here can help you understand Nevada law on conservatorship. Read on to learn how the process works and how skilled estate lawyers in Las Vegas can help make things easier.
How Conservatorships Work Under Nevada Law
Conservatorships under the Nevada Revised Statutes are called guardianships. The process allows a court-appointed guardian to make financial, medical, and life decisions for a “protected person,” (that is, the person who requires a guardian).
The guardianship process is initiated by a petition filed in a district court by any of the following persons:
The proposed protected person if they have the required mental capacity.
A governmental agency
A nonprofit corporation
Any interested person, such as a family member.
Guardianship petitions are usually filed for the following reasons:
The proposed protected person is incapacitated and unable to receive/evaluate information, make decisions, or unable to physically care for themselves without assistance despite being an adult.
The proposed protected person is of limited capacity and cannot fully make decisions necessary for their care or the management of their assets despite being an adult.
The court will only appoint a guardian if either condition is established with proof from qualified medical professionals.
Types of Guardianship
The types of guardianship under Nevada law are as follows:
Guardianship of the Person
In this type of guardianship, the guardian is granted legal authority to decide matters and complete paperwork concerning the protected person’s daily living, health, and related issues.
Guardianship of the Estate
The sole purpose of this type of guardianship is asset protection. Here the guardian is given the authority to take charge of and manage the protected person’s assets and make estate planning decisions.
Guardianship of the Person and Estate
This is a mix of the previous types of guardianship and is usually granted when the proposed protected person’s incapacity is extensive. In such instances, the court may appoint one or more persons to take charge of the protected person’s physical well-being and assets and make personal and financial decisions on their behalf.
This type of guardianship is usually granted in cases of emergency where the protected person is at risk of immediate physical harm or if they require urgent medical attention. It usually lasts ten days but can be extended if the court permits it.
Special guardianship is usually initiated by the proposed protected person if they qualify as a ‘person of limited capacity.’ In such cases, the court will appoint a guardian if it is determined that:
- The petitioner has the mental capacity to make such a petition
- The person can make decisions about their care or manage their property to some extent.
Who Can Become a Guardian in Nevada?
Anyone deemed suitable by the court may be appointed as a guardian, including family members or private professionals. Still, if the (proposed) protected person has a preference or nominates someone for an appointment, the court would usually approve their choice as long as the proposed guardian is legally qualified.
A person is not qualified for appointment as a guardian if the person;
- Cannot provide for the basic needs of the ward
- Is an alcoholic or has habitually used controlled substances during the last six months
- Has been found guilty of child abandonment, abuse, or similar offenses
- Has a disability
- Has been convicted of a felony
- Has had their professional license for certain professions such as law or accounting suspended for misconduct
In some cases, the court may require the appointed guardian to complete formal guardianship training as a condition of the appointment. This ensures that they are fully prepared for the role and the responsibilities that come with it.
Also, a parent or spouse of an incapacitated person or person of limited capacity may nominate a guardian in their will. After the parent or spouse passes, the person nominated would need to file a petition in court and get court approval before they can assume the role of a legal guardian. Otherwise, they could get in trouble with the law.
When Does Adult Guardianship End?
Guardianship of an adult usually lasts until the protected person is no longer incapacitated. In such cases, the protected person or guardian may approach the court to cancel the guardianship if it is no longer needed.
If there’s suspicion of abuse on the part of a guardian, an interested person, such as a close relative, may also be able to apply to the court to terminate the guardianship and appoint a new guardian. This sort of proceeding would require specific evidence of abuse, such as medical or police reports.
You can contact a skilled Las Vegas lawyer for help if you’d like to know more about such cases.
Are There Any Alternatives to Guardianship/ Conservatorship in Nevada?
Guardianship is a complex procedure that involves a lot of paperwork, court hearings, and professional assessments from healthcare professionals. It is a process that would task you in a lot of ways. So, before you decide to file for guardianship, consider whether there are simpler options that could serve your purpose.
Thankfully in Nevada, there are alternatives to guardianship that do not require court authority that could help you make decisions and act on behalf of your sick or incapacitated family member. They include the following:
Advanced medical or healthcare directives
Special needs trust
Powers of attorney.
Most of these legal instruments require the participation of the ‘proposed protected person.’ This means that they might work if the person has some capacity to make decisions. If the person is totally incapacitated, then guardianship might be your only option. Nevertheless, it is more appropriate to seek legal counsel from an attorney and learn your options before you proceed.
Got Further Guardianship Questions? We Can Help at Wood Law Group
As a law firm, we understand the difficulties that accompany caring for a sick or elderly relative. Our goal is to help you deal with the legal side of things while you focus on the truly important things – love, care, and family – rather than the formalities and complex paperwork typical of court proceedings.
We are a firm of experienced estate lawyers in Las Vegas and can help with any concerns you might have on guardianships, estate planning, probate court practices, or a power of attorney in Nevada.
Contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation and explore your options for the proper legal backing to help you provide better care for your loved one.