What Are a Legal Guardian’s Duties and Rights?

In Nevada, you may establish a guardianship arrangement to care for an adult (such as an elderly or incapacitated loved one) or for a child (when a parent cannot care for the child), but in either situation, you’ll need the insights and guidance that a Las Vegas guardianship lawyer provides.

An adult’s guardian has substantial authority to make decisions for that adult. A minor child’s guardian must provide a child’s basic needs (such as housing, education, and medical care), but biological parents usually retain their parental rights and financial responsibility for the child.

What should you know if your family needs to establish a guardianship for a child or for an adult loved one in Nevada? What steps will you take to set up a legal guardianship, and how will a Las Vegas guardianship attorney help you?

What is Required of a Guardian?

The legal requirements for guardians in the State of Nevada are quite demanding. Prospective guardians must demonstrate their ability and fitness by passing a comprehensive background check.

A guardian should be a patient, caring person. Guardians in Nevada are responsible for addressing the needs of the child or adult for whom the guardianship is established – the person referred to as a “protected person.” Those needs may include:

  1.  determining where the protected person resides
  2.  making medical decisions on the protected person’s behalf
  3.  making financial choices on the protected person’s behalf

Who May Not Serve as a Guardian?

Generally speaking, a person may not be named as a guardian by a Nevada court if that person:

  1.  cannot provide for the protected person’s basic needs
  2.  habitually used alcohol or another controlled substance (other than medical marijuana) over the previous six months
  3.  has been found by a court to have isolated, abandoned, abused, neglected, or exploited another person
  4.  has had a professional license suspended or has been disbarred in the State of Nevada

Additionally, minors and persons deemed incompetent by the court may not serve as guardians, nor may someone with a felony conviction related to guardianship (unless the court determines that it is in a protected person’s best interests to designate a specific convicted felon as the protected person’s guardian).

What is the Procedure for Establishing a Guardianship?

Prospective guardians in Nevada should ask a Las Vegas guardianship attorney to submit a petition to the court in the county where the proposed protected person resides. The court will conduct a guardianship hearing to determine if establishing a guardianship is in the proposed protected person’s best interests.

The party filing the guardianship petition bears the burden of proof. Doctors, social workers, and psychologists may be asked to provide expert testimony. Whether you’re the petitioner or the proposed protected person, a guardianship lawyer will protect your rights throughout the legal process.

In a Nevada guardianship proceeding, the court also appoints an attorney through legal aid to represent the interests of a child under the age of 18 or an adult over which a person is seeking guardianship.

The entire guardianship process in the State of Nevada typically takes from two to three months, but in emergencies, the court may name a “temporary guardian” after an expedited hearing.

Are There Different Types of Guardianship?

Because children as well as adults may need guardians for different reasons, Nevada law allows for three different types of guardianship:

  1.  Limited or full guardianship of the person: These guardians are authorized to make choices about a protected person’s healthcare, education, and support.
  2.  Limited or full guardian over the estate: These guardians are authorized to make financial choices regarding the protected person’s assets.
  3.  Guardianship over the person and estate: These guardians make personal as well as financial choices for a protected person. One individual may serve as guardian of both the person and the estate, or different persons may be designated by the court to fulfill each role.

What Else Should You Know About Guardianship for a Child?

Guardianship for a child suspends but does not terminate the legal rights of the biological parents. It grants the guardian legal authority to place the child in school, consent to the child’s medical treatment, to relocate the child (within Nevada), and to make other important choices.

At a guardianship hearing for a child, the petitioner must prove that establishing the guardianship is in the child’s best interests. Guardianship for a child ends when the child turns eighteen, passes away, or the court determines that the guardianship is no longer necessary.

A temporary, six-month guardianship may be set up for a child for medical and educational purposes in emergency and short-term situations, for example, if the child’s parent must undergo extensive surgery or must be out of the country temporarily.

What Else Should You Know About Adult Guardianship?

Guardianships for adults in Nevada are not always permanent either. A relative, a protected person, or a guardian may ask a court to terminate an adult guardianship, and the court will conduct a guardianship termination hearing.

To terminate an adult guardianship, ask a Las Vegas guardianship lawyer to prepare the legal paperwork on your behalf. At the hearing, the judge will decide if the protected person still needs a guardian. A judge may need proof that the protected person is now competent to make financial and medical choices.

Let Fuller Law Practice Handle Your Family’s Legal Needs

In the Las Vegas area, whether you are establishing a guardianship for a child or for an adult, Fuller Law Practice provides the advice and legal services you need. We also handle divorces, adoptions, and prenuptial agreements, and we provide the full range of family law services.

Guardianship attorney Rebecca Fuller will help you through each step of establishing a guardianship. She will handle the legal paperwork, prepare you for court, and accompany you at a guardianship hearing.

Attorney Rebecca Fuller advises and works for families throughout the Las Vegas area and has over seventeen years of family law experience. To learn more about guardianship, or to begin the legal process now, schedule a case evaluation by calling Fuller Law Practice at 702-935-4144.