Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Protected Person

Courts must appoint counsel for the person to be protected in a conservatorship proceeding.  NMSA 1978, §§ 45-5-407(B) (long-term conservators), 45-5-408(B) (temporary conservators).  Additionally, counsel must be provided to any indigent, incapacitated adult in a guardianship hearing,  N.M. Stat. § 45-5-303(C) (in guardianship proceeding, "Unless an alleged incapacitated person already has an attorney of the alleged incapacitated person's own choice, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person. The court-appointed attorney in the proceeding shall have the duties of a guardian ad litem …"); § 45-5-307(D)  (for review/termination of guardianship, "the court shall follow the same procedures to safeguard the rights of the incapacitated person as those that apply to a petition for appointment of a guardian as set forth in Section 45-5-303 NMSA 1978.")


Originally, counsel was required to be appointed for temporary guardianship proceedings, but in 2022, § 45-5-310(B) was amended to change "counsel" to "guardian ad litem". 

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes