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Judges should enforce Nevada’s existing guardianship law, reform proponent says

A proposal to double the frequency at which guardians must file financial paperwork wouldn’t fix Nevada’s systemic problems, according to a key proponent for guardianship reform.

State law requires guardians — tasked with managing the finances of those deemed mentally incompetent — to file accountings of their wards’ assets and spending once a year. An amendment to SB 262 would make them file those documents twice annually.

Washoe County Chief Judge David Hardy, who advocates for tighter restrictions on guardians, said Thursday he does not agree with the proposed change while testifying in support of the bill in a meeting of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Wards would end up having to pay for the extra work, Hardy said, which can easily cost about $3,000 each time.

Filing the accounting paperwork once a year is more than adequate, Hardy said. The judges who oversee guardianships just need to make sure that’s being done.

A Review-Journal series in April showed some guardians didn’t bother filing the required paperwork. Some drained hundreds of thousands of dollars from wards’ accounts.

SB 262, sponsored by Sen. Becky Harris, R-Las Vegas, also calls for a change to the state law that requires guardians to be Nevada residents. Including Harris, 13 legislators are sponsoring the bill. Several more lawmakers asked to be added as co-sponsors during Thursday’s meeting.

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