Albuquerque Attorneys Assist with Guardianships and Conservatorships

New Mexico firm helps clients establish legal responsibility for incapacitated persons

At Hurley, Toevs, Styles, Hamblin & Panter, P.A. in Albuquerque, we represent clients in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings filed in District Courts throughout New Mexico. Our work in this area includes the representation of petitioners, interested persons, guardians, and conservators. Some matters relating to the legal authority over incapacitated persons are uncontested, while others involve significant conflict. Whatever your situation entails, we work diligently to establish appropriate arrangements to help meet someone’s personal needs through guardianship and/or their financial responsibilities with a conservatorship. Many guardianship and conservatorship petitions are for individuals who suffer from progressive dementia, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. Such proceedings can also involve conservatorship of estates involving millions of dollars.


A guardian is legally responsible for the tasks required to help an incapacitated person live safely and handle their everyday needs. This usually involves making healthcare decisions, ensuring the incapacitated person has a suitable place to live and setting up arrangements for meals and cleaning. Each case is unique however, and a judge might create a guardianship that addresses some, but not all, of the responsibilities requested by the petitioner.


While a guardianship covers legal authority over medical treatment, living arrangements and personal care, conservatorship relates to financial and property matters. Often, guardianship and conservatorship will be established simultaneously. However, there are situations where someone who is capable of meeting their own physical needs might require someone else to oversee their financial concerns, such as bill paying, investment management and real estate transactions.

How are guardianships and conservatorships established?

When someone petitions in District Court to establish a guardianship or conservatorship, the following three professionals are appointed in order to assist the judge’s decision:

  • Guardian ad litem — In the proceeding, a guardian ad litem represents the interests of the allegedly incapacitated person. Specific responsibilities include conducting interviews with the health care professional, court visitor and proposed guardian or conservator. The guardian ad litem might also seek information from other professionals to inform their opinion and report to the judge the position of the person to be protected, as well as the availability of alternatives to guardianship.  
  • Qualified Health care professional — A qualified health care professional designated by the court evaluates the ostensibly incapacitated person’s intellectual, developmental and social functioning.
  • Court visitor — The court visitor spends time with the proposed incapacitated person to determine what decisions and tasks the individual is capable of handling on their own.

After each appointed professional has completed their report, the judge conducts a hearing to hear relevant evidence regarding the need for a guardianship or conservatorship, as well as the fitness of the person seeking legal authority.

How can a guardianship or conservatorship meet your needs?

If you’re worried that someone you know is not able to manage their personal care or financial matters due to illness (thereby putting themselves or their assets at risk) and has not identified a surrogate decision-maker to act on their behalf or has identified a surrogate but that person is unwilling or unfit to perform the task.

Contact a New Mexico attorney to discuss a guardianship or conservatorship 

Hurley, Toevs, Styles, Hamblin & Panter, P.A. in Albuquerque represents clients seeking to establish New Mexico guardianships and conservatorships. To schedule a consultation, please call 505-888-1188 or contact us online.