When age or illness affects a loved one's physical and mental abilities, guardianship may offer the best way for you to help with finances, health care and any other needs.
Nevada law provides for several types of guardianships. Understanding the responsibilities and limitations of each kind of guardian can help you determine which would be most appropriate for your situation.
Types of guardians
A guardian may watch over the person, over the estate or both. Over the person means making decisions about personal issues such as healthcare and daily support. Over the estate means taking over the management of finances.
Further, a guardian may be general and last indefinitely, or special in that the guardian has the power to make only specific types of decisions. A special guardian may be appropriate for someone who has the capacity to make some kinds of decisions but not others.
Two people may share one type of guardianship. Alternatively, the court may appoint separate guardians of the person and the estate.
Who can be a guardian
To qualify as a guardian, you must be at least 18 years old. As the ward is an adult, courts will first consider his or her choice. You must also be able to provide for the person's needs. Courts may refuse to grant guardianship if the prospective guardian has a felony conviction or professional license suspension, has regularly consumed alcohol or controlled substances (other than those duly prescribed) within the past six months, or was legally found to have abused, exploited or neglected another person.
How the process works
Typically, guardianship proceedings take about three months to complete. The first step, once you have discussed the issue with your loved one, is to file a petition in the county where he or she lives. The court will then hold a hearing on the petition.
This process is not merely a formality. You will need to prove the guardianship is necessary and that less restrictive alternatives would not adequately address the situation.