In New Mexico, during a guardianship and conservatorship proceeding the judge will examine the person’s decision-making ability with regard to money and property as well as the ability to manage the basics of everyday life and self care. In such a proceeding, the judge will seek the opinions and recommendations of various professionals appointed by the court to determine whether a person is legally incapacitated.

A full or plenary guardianship is granted only when the protected person needs assistance making all decisions regarding his/her affairs and care. A full guardian and/or conservator must file regular reports to the court. The court appoints a limited guardian when the protected person has the ability to manage some aspects of their personal life. Limited guardianships and conservatorships are preferred under the law, as this allows the protected person to retain more of his/her right to self-determination. The limited guardian and conservator must file regular reports to the court.

A temporary guardianship is used when the time taken for due process to appoint a guardian could cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to the alleged incapacitated adult. In such cases, a notice will be sent to all appropriate parties and a full hearing will be scheduled later. The court can decide whether a permanent guardianship or conservatorship is needed after considering the evidence. However, the temporary guardianship or conservatorship will not automatically expire in 60-90 days unless an expiration date or time limit is noted in the court’s order. Rather, it is necessary to return to court to terminate the temporary guardianship or grant permanent guardianship.

The decision to seek guardianship of an elderly or disabled family member can be very difficult. I have the knowledge, experience and compassion to assist you in this process. I can help.