What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is the legal appointment of one person (the guardian) over another person (the ward). The court determines whether or not the prospective ward is, in fact, capable of making decisions. If the prospective ward is deemed legally incapacitated, the court will appoint a guardian. That guardian is responsible for making decisions about the ward’s healthcare, residential concerns, and financial wellbeing.
Most guardianships in Nevada are general guardianships, which means that the guardian has control over all aspects of their ward. Special guardianships are uncommon but possible. For example, if the incapacitated person has a gambling addiction, but is otherwise capable of making decisions about their life, a special guardian may be assigned to manage their financial wellbeing.
The McFarling Law Group is a Las Vegas guardianship law firm that specializes in a variety of guardianship issues. Our will help you decide if you should seek guardianship and guide you through the guardianship appointment.
Call us at 702-766-6671 to schedule a consultation and speak with a Las Vegas guardianship lawyer.
Who Needs A Guardian?
There are many reasons why an adult might need guardianship. With an aging population, there are more and more senior adults who need proper care. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are common situations where an adult needs guardianship, but seniors are also susceptible to physical disability, whether by age or trauma.
Moreover, some conditions span all age groups. Substance addiction can occur in adults at any age. If that addiction becomes overwhelming or results in a disability, that person will need guardianship.
Trauma happens all the time. Some injuries are more debilitating than others. Accidents happen at home, on the road, or in the air, and can result in physical and mental disability. Severe illnesses can have the same impact, especially when it’s a lingering condition that requires long-term medical care.
Children with severe developmental disabilities become adults with those same disabilities. The primary caregivers of people with severe developmental disabilities are usually parents, who often become seniors in need of guardianship themselves.
Minors are in a constant state of guardianship, usually under their parents. If the parents become incapacitated or pass away before their children, those children become wards of the state. That is unless the parents’ wills named guardians. If not, the state tries to place them in guardianship with close relatives. If a parent or both parents are abusive or incapable of being satisfactory guardians for the minor, third parties can sue for guardianship over the minors as well.
What Type of Guardianship is Needed?
Adult guardianship is usually the result of an intervening situation, such as an accident or the onset of a debilitating illness, so the guardianship is indefinite. In most cases, guardianship is over the person (including anything relating to their personal wellbeing, such as support and healthcare) and the estate (including anything pertaining to their assets, including their finances).
Most minor guardianship is general guardianship, with the guardian being responsible for decisions about support, healthcare, education, and financial matters. When a minor comes of age, their guardianship ends automatically, unless there are special circumstances, such as mental or physical disability. If the original guardianship agreement didn’t address those circumstances, the guardians would have to petition the court for a new guardianship appointment.
Special guardianship separates general guardianship into the person and the estate. In special guardianship cases, the ward is capable of making some decisions, but not others. It is also possible for one person to have two guardians, one for the person and one for the estate.
Guardianship over the person, in the case of adult guardianship, includes decisions about support and healthcare. For example, an adult might have placed their finances in trust, so financial matters are secure, but the adult may not be able to manage their day-to-day life, so a guardian over the person is assigned.
Guardianship over the estate, in the case of adult guardianship, includes decisions about finances and other assets. As mentioned above, a gambling addict may be capable of taking care of their person, but not able to control financial matters. A guardian over the estate will manage their finances, preventing them from gambling away their assets.
It is possible to grant temporary guardianship in Nevada. For example, if both parents are serving in the military, and both have been deployed, they can assign temporary guardianship over their minor children to allow their children to stay at home. The temporary guardianship would end when the parents return to take custody of the children.
How Do I Become a Guardian?
If you are over 18 years old and believe that someone you know needs guardianship, you must petition the Nevada family court for guardianship. However, you need to have the ability and the means to take over the care and control of that person.
Guardianship is refused to people who:
- Are incapable of providing the care required for the ward
- Are a habitual drug or alcohol user (for at least six months before the petition)
- Have been convicted of violence, abuse, neglect, or abandonment of another person
- Have been convicted of a felony
- Have had a professional license suspended (including disbarment)
If you are seeking guardianship, you have the burden of proof that your would-be ward is incapable of managing certain aspects of their life. When deciding whether to seek guardianship over someone, it is best to have legal guidance. The Las Vegas legal guardianship attorneys at McFarling Law Group can help you determine whether guardianship is needed and to what extent.
Can a Guardianship Appointment be Resisted or Overturned?
If you are the subject of a guardianship suit and believe that you do not need guardianship, you can object to the guardianship, either before or after the guardianship has been appointed. The Las Vegas guardianship attorneys at McFarling Law Group are experienced with state and local laws and can help you with your objection.