How Guardianship Works in Nevada for Children & Families

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We all need someone to take care of us. Children rely on adults to provide for most of their needs. As we age, we tend to become the person responsible for our own care and well-being.

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What happens when a child doesn’t have an adult to take care of them or their property? Similarly, what happens when an adult is unable to take care of their own self or their property? In these situations, it may be necessary for the court to appoint a guardian for the child or adult. 

What is a guardian? A guardian is a responsible adult, who is usually appointed by the court, to make sure the person in need of care (called a protected person) receives that care.

Guardianship laws vary from state to state. If you are considering guardianship in Nevada, then this article is for you.

What Types of Guardianships Exist in Nevada?

In Nevada, there are three main definitions for guardians. These types of guardianships below may be for an adult or a minor child based on the age of the proposed protected person (the person under guardianship). 

The guardianship may be temporary or permanent based on its duration. The guardian may also be a general or special guardian depending on the capacity of the proposed protected person. In some situations, it may be possible to file for an emergency guardianship. 

Guardians of the person

Under a guardian of the person, the guardian is responsible for the care of the protected person. The guardian has rights and responsibilities regarding the protected person’s living, education, medical, and personal decisions. 

Guardians of the estate

A guardian of the estate is a guardian that is responsible for overseeing the financial decisions of the protected person. In some states this is known as a conservator.

Guardians of the person and estate

A guardian of the person and estate is responsible for the protected person’s personal, medical, and financial choices. This is the most comprehensive form of guardianship.

Who Are the Default Guardians for Minor Children, Older Adults, or Adults With Special Needs in Nevada?

Most guardians are appointed by the court, so there are not technically default guardians. However, parents are generally considered the guardians of their minor children.

Keep in mind that older adults and adults with special needs are adults. As adults, they are guardians over themselves. While they might need guardianship in some capacity, this must be arranged by the court. 

What Forms Do You Need to File for Guardianship in Nevada?

The forms for filing for guardianship in Nevada will vary depending on whether the guardianship is for a minor or an adult. The forms may also vary depending on the county where you are filling and, in the case of minor children, the number of children.

If you are filing for guardianship in Nevada, you should check with the court website or self-help center to ensure you are filing the correct forms. If you have questions about the forms for your situation, you should speak with an experienced guardianship attorney licensed in Nevada.

Both guardianship for a minor child and guardianship for an adult require you to file the following four forms to start your case:

  • Family court cover sheet
  • Confidential information sheet
  • Petition for appointment of guardian
  • Citation to appear and show cause

Minor child forms

If you are filing for guardianship of a minor child, you will also need to file the following forms:

  • Certificate of mailing
  • Parent consent
  • Child consent (if the child is 14 or older)
  • Order appointing guardian
  • Notice of entry of order
  • Letters of guardianship

Adult forms

If you are filing for guardianship of an adult, you will also need to file the following forms:

  • Physician’s certificate
  • Declaration of service on adult
  • Certificate of mailing
  • Order appointing guardian
  • Notice of entry of order appointing guardian
  • Letters of guardianship

How Do You File for Guardianship in Nevada?

The process for filing for guardianship in Nevada will differ depending on whether you are filing for guardianship of a minor or guardianship of an adult. You need to make sure that you are filing forms with the appropriate court. The appropriate court is usually in the county where the proposed protected person lives. 

Minor child

To file for a guardianship of a minor child in Nevada you must do the following:

  • File the guardianship forms to start the case and pay any necessary filing fees
  • Serve the right people (usually family members) with a copy of the petition and citation
  • Appear at the child guardianship hearing
  • Follow any instruction from the judge
  • Complete additional guardianship forms if guardianship is granted

Adult

To file for a guardianship of an adult in Nevada you must do the following:

  • File the guardianship forms to start the case and pay any necessary filing fees
  • Serve a copy of the petition and citation to the proposed protected person and other necessary persons (usually family members)
  • Appear at the adult guardianship hearing
  • Follow any instruction from the judge
  • Complete additional guardianship forms if guardianship is granted

How Do You Assign a Guardian for a Minor Child in Nevada?

In most instances, a guardian for a minor child not assigned it is court-appointed. However, in Nevada it is possible to appoint a short-term guardianship with parent’s consent. This is done with a temporary guardianship agreement and does not require a court order. The parents, the minor child (if the child is 14 or older), and the proposed temporary guardian must sign and notarize the temporary guardianship agreement. The agreement is effective for six months.

How Guardianship Works for Minor Children

In Nevada, a minor child is any child under the age of 18. In some instances, the guardianship may be extended until the protected minor reaches 19 years of age. If a child does not have a parent who is caring for them or if the child has significant assets then a guardianship may be necessary.

Permanent guardianship

A permanent guardianship is a guardianship that is of a longer duration than the short-term guardianship discussed above. A guardianship for a minor child does not last forever. It terminates upon any of the following:

  • Death of the protected minor
  • The protected minor moves out of state and jurisdiction is transferred
  • Court order
  • The protected minor reaches 18 (or 19 in some situations)

General guardianship

In a general guardianship, the guardian is responsible for the care, custody, and control of the protected minor. The guardian “shall perform the duties necessary for the proper care, maintenance, education and support of the protected minor.”

Emergency guardianship

In emergency situations it may be possible to get a temporary guardianship. This may be possible where:

  • The proposed protected minor faces immediate risk of harm (emotionally or physically)
  • The minor needs immediate medical attention

You do not have to go through the guardianship process alone. If you have questions about guardianship for a minor child you should contact an experienced guardianship attorney. A guardianship attorney can answer your questions and assist you with the guardianship process.

How Guardianship Works for Older Adults

Once a person is over 18, age is not a factor in guardianship. Adults, regardless of age, are responsible for themselves and their own care. 

A guardianship may be necessary for an adult who is either incapacitated or of limited capacity. A person is incapacitated if they are “unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions to such an extent that the person lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety or self-care without appropriate assistance.” 

Similarly, a person is of limited capacity if the person is “able to make independently some but not all of the decisions necessary for the person’s own care and the management of the person’s property.”

Prior to pursuing a guardianship for an adult, you may want to research alternatives to guardianship. Depending on your concerns, the alternatives may provide a less restrictive means by which to meet the needs of the proposed protected person.

Permanent guardianship

A guardianship that is not temporary will last until any of the following occur: 

  • The protected person moves and transfers jurisdiction to another state
  • A court order terminates the guardianship
  • The protected person passes away

General guardianship

As discussed above, in a general guardianship, the guardian is responsible for the care, custody, and control of the protected person. The guardian does any and all of the duties necessary for proper care. Keep in mind that the powers of the guardian may be limited by the court.

Special guardianship

A special guardian is a “guardian of a person of limited capacity, including, without limitation, such a guardian who is appointed because a person of limited capacity has voluntarily petitioned for the appointment and the court has determined that the person has the requisite capacity to make such a petition.” When the court appoints a special guardian, it specifies the powers and duties of the special guardian in the order. 

Emergency guardianship

In most instances a hearing is necessary to appoint a guardian. However, it is possible for the court to appoint a temporary, emergency guardianship in any of the following situations:

  • The proposed protected person is unable to respond to a substantial and immediate risk of physical harm or financial loss or to a need for immediate medical attention 
  • The proposed protected person faces a substantial and immediate risk of physician harm or financial loss or needs immediate medical attention

An emergency guardianship is an expedited proceeding meant to shield an individual from potential physical or financial harm. You will have to explain the immediate need to the court when you file the forms with the court.

How Guardianship Works for Adults With Developmental Disabilities or Special Needs

An adult is presumed to be responsible for their own decision making and care, even if they have developmental disabilities or special needs. If an adult is potentially in need of guardianship, it should be pursued in the same manner as discussed above. Either for an adult who is either incapacitated or of limited capacity. 

In Nevada, there are a variety of options for adults with disabilities. These options include guardianship as well as alternatives to guardianship. Every person has unique needs and those needs should be considered when determining the least restrictive option.

Frequently Asked Questions: Guardianship in Nevada

If you are pursuing guardianship in Nevada, then you may have a lot of questions. Below we answer frequently asked questions about guardianship in Nevada.

How long is temporary guardianship in Nevada?

The duration of temporary guardianship depends on the type of temporary guardianship. An emergency temporary guardianship only lasts for 10 days before a hearing is required. The temporary guardianship may be extended for two successive 60-day periods.

As discussed in the earlier section, under a temporary guardianship agreement for a minor child, the temporary guardianship lasts six months. 

What’s the difference between guardianship, conservatorship, and custody in Nevada?

Nevada does not use the term conservatorship. Instead, a person with financial responsibility for the protected person is called a guardian of the estate. In many states, a guardianship is what Nevada calls a guardianship of the person.

In Nevada, there are two different types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. If a parent has legal custody of a child, they have the right to make major decisions for the child including decisions about education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody refers to where a child lives and how much time the child spends with a parent.

In the absence of a court order, parents automatically have joint legal and physical custody of their minor child. In most situations, only parents are allowed to request custody of their minor child.

Can you get guardianship without going to court in Nevada?

Most guardianships in Nevada are court appointed. However, as discussed in the minor guardianship section, it is possible to appoint a temporary child guardian without going to court.

Understand Your Options

A guardianship is a big responsibility. It can also be a restrictive option for the protected person. In some instances, there may be other options that better provide for the proposed protected person’s needs. 

When pursuing a guardianship, it is important to understand your options and choose those that best fit the needs of the proposed protected person.

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