The 2017 Nevada State Legislature acted in a significant manner to reform Nevada’s guardianship laws following a report from the Supreme Court’s Commission to Study the Administration of Guardianships in Nevada’s Courts.
A total of seven guardianship reform laws were introduced by legislators. The commission’s report recommended changes made by five of the new laws signed by Governor Brian Sandoval.
The commission’s recommendations for a Guardianship Bill of Rights, mandatory appointment of legal counsel, and an oversight and compliance office to review guardianship cases were all enacted by legislation.
“These reforms are significant and meaningful,” Supreme Court Justice James W. Hardesty, chairman of the commission, said. “These changes act upon a number of recommendations for reform made by the commission after months of review and discussion. I am pleased that commission’s work has led to guardianship laws that serve to protect and preserve the rights of protected persons.”
- Appointment of legal counsel for all proposed protected persons;
- Adoption of a Bill of Rights for all persons that are, or may be, subject to guardianship proceedings allowing for legal advice, visits, communication, remedies, accounting, and appointment of a volunteer guardian ad litem or protected person’s advocate;
- Creation of the State Guardianship Compliance Office with investigators and accountants to review the administration of guardianship cases;
- Requirement of the adoption of an initial plan by the court for every case detailing the support, maintenance, and care of a protected person;
- Creation of a separate minor guardianship chapter in the Nevada Revised Statutes;
- Protection of the management and administration of a protected person’s estate and personal property;
- Revisions to the statutory provisions governing the qualifications necessary to serve as a private professional guardian; and,
- Expansion of the Secretary of State’s Lockbox Program to include designations of guardian nominations.
All of the changes affect the state courts as they administer guardianship cases pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 159.
A group of 27 individuals served on the commission representing the judiciary, law enforcement, legal community, the media, and the public. The commission submitted its final report to the Supreme Court in September 2016.