GUARDIANSHIP / CONSERVATORSHIP
Guardianship is the process by which a person is appointed by a court to manage the personal affairs of a person who cannot manage their own affairs because they are a minor or are legally incompetent.
Conservatorship is the process by which a person is appointed by a court to manage the financial affairs of a person who cannot manage their own affairs because they are a minor or are legally incompetent.
In New Mexico, there are two types of Guardianship and Conservatorship. Kinship Guardianship under the New Mexico Kinship Guardianship Act, and Guardianship/Conservatorship under the New Mexico Uniform Probate Code.
Kinship Guardianship is used to appoint a family member of a child to take over the rights and responsibilities of a child's parents when the child's parents are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care, guidance and supervision. A Kinship Guardianship gives the guardian the authority to make personal and financial decisions on the behalf of a child as if the guardian was the child's parent.
Guardianship and Conservatorship under the Probate Code is used to appoint an individual, or individuals, to make personal and/or financial decisions on behalf of a person who is legally incapacitated. The guardian has the authority to make personal decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person, while the conservator has the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. The Guardian and Conservator can be, but do not have to be, the same person.
Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator generally requires the appointment of other professionals such as a Guardian ad Litem, Court Visitor, and Qualified Healthcare Provider, who help ensure that the guardianship and/or conservatorship are necessary and in the best interest of the protected person, while ensuring that the guardianship and/or conservatorship allow the greatest amount of individual liberty and independence for the protected person possible.
Guardianship and Conservatorship can be a complex and difficult process, so you should contact competent counsel to ensure that the process is handled appropriately.
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