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How to Open an Adult Guardianship Case

If you want to be the guardian over an adult, there are many forms you must fill out to open a case.  The forms tell the judge about you, anyone who wants to be a co-guardian with you, the person you want to be the guardian over, and why the guardianship is needed.  Read on for more information about the forms you must complete and how to open a case.


You can attend a FREE GUARDIANSHIP CLASS where you can learn the basics of guardianship law and the court procedures. You'll receive a class manual and some great tips to help you represent yourself. Visit Free Classes for more information.

Guardianship cases can be difficult to navigate on your own.  There are many court rules and requirements you must follow to succeed in a guardianship case.  If you do not follow the rules and requirements, your case could be delayed or even dismissed! 

Before filing for guardianship, read through every article in the Guardianship Overview section of this website so you understand the concepts involved.  If you decide you need legal help, you can find out where to get legal assistance by visiting Lawyers & Legal Help.

Once you are familiar with the legal concepts and are ready to file a case, please read and follow the steps below:

Complete the Guardianship Papers
File the Guardianship Papers


Complete the Guardianship Papers

ALL of the forms below are required to open a guardianship case.


The forms below will set a hearing for you to see the judge in a month or two.  If there is a serious emergency and you need to be appointed the guardian right away, you can instead fill out the Emergency Adult Guardianship Packet (pdf fillable).

Do not use the emergency forms unless there is a situation that truly requires the court to act immediately.   Emergency guardianships are not granted very often, and are only approved if the adult needs immediate medical attention or if the adult is facing an immediate risk of harm

Family Court Cover Sheet

One or two people can ask to be the guardians over an adult.  This form asks for basic information about you, any person who wants to be a co-guardian with you, and the person over whom you are asking to be the guardian.  You are the Petitioner and any proposed co-guardian is the Co-Petitioner.

Family Court Cover Sheet (pdf fillable)  

Family Court Cover Sheet (pdf)


Confidential Information Sheet

You must provide one form of ID for each guardian and for the person over whom the guardianship is requested.  Fill out this form and check which type of ID you are providing for each.  Attach a copy of the ID to the form. 

The proposed guardians must include their ID when filing.  If you do not have ID for the proposed protected person, you can file it within 120 days of becoming the guardian. 

This information is filed confidentially and is not available to the public.

Confidential Information Sheet (pdf fillable)

Confidential Information Sheet (pdf)


Petition for Appointment of Guardian

This form tells the court who is asking to be named the guardian and why.  The person asking to be the guardian is the "proposed guardian/petitioner."  If a second person is asking to be a co-guardian, that person is the "proposed second guardian/co-petitioner."  The person over whom the guardianship is requested is the "proposed protected person." 

Complete all sections.

Petition for Appointment of Guardian - Adult (pdf fillable)

Petition for Appointment of Guardian - Adult (pdf) 


You must mark on the first page what type of guardianship you are asking for.  Typically, people ask for a "general guardianship" if the adult is incapacitated or completely unable to take care of himself, or a "special guardianship" if the adult has limited capacity to make some, but not all decisions necessary for his or her own care. 

Within those categories, you can ask to be the guardian over the "person" (to make medical/personal decisions), the "estate" (to make financial decisions), or the "person and estate" (to make medical/personal/financial decisions).


Citation to Appear and Show Cause

All adult guardianships require a hearing in front of a judge.  This form sets a court date.  Fill out every section except for the "Date and Time of Court Appearance" (that part will be filled out by the court clerk when you file your papers).

Citation to Appear and Show Cause - Adult (pdf fillable)

Citation to Appear and Show Cause - Adult (pdf)

If there is an emergency:

The Clerk of Court will schedule a hearing date when you file the Citation.  If there is an emergency and you want the judge to hear your case sooner, you can fill out the Order Shortening Time Packet (pdf fillable) to see if the judge will give you a faster court date.

Physician's Certificate

This form is usually completed by a doctor, and tells the judge about the proposed protected person's medical condition. It also may excuse the proposed protected person from attending the hearing. This form must be filed at least one week before the court date, if you can't file it with the other papers immediately.

Physician's Certificate (pdf fillable)

Physician's Certificate (pdf)


The adult over whom you are asking to be the guardian is normally required to attend the court hearing with you. The doctor can excuse the person's attendance in the form above.


File the Guardianship Papers

Filing Fees:

  • If you are asking to be the guardian over the person only (not the estate), there is no fee to file the papers.
  • Guardian over the estate: No fee if assets are $2500 or less.
  • Guardian over the esatate: $5 fee if the assets are more than $2500, payable by cash, money order, or most major credit/debit cards. If you cannot afford the fee, please see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.

You can file your papers one of three ways:

  1. In Person: Bring your filing fee and the forms to the Clerk's Office at the Family Courts and Services Center.  The Clerk’s Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, but you must arrive by 3:40 p.m. to see a Clerk before closing. 

  2. By Mail: If you cannot come to the court during business hours, you can mail your forms and the filing fee to:

    Family Courts and Services Center
    Attn: Clerk of Court
    601 North Pecos Road
    Las Vegas, NV 89101

  3. Online: Many documents can be filed online through the court's e-filing system, eFileNV (although some documents must be filed in person). There is a fee of $3.50 to upload your documents, in addition to the regular filing fee. You must register for an account, you must provide a valid email address, and you must be able to scan and upload your documents.


If you efile your documents, you will be agreeing to be served with future legal documents electronically. Be sure to use an email address that you will check regularly so that you do not miss important legal documents filed in your case. If your email addresses changes, you must update that information in your efile account. If you would rather receive future legal documents through the U.S. Mail, file your documents in person or by mail.

Once the case is filed, the judge will appoint an attorney to represent the adult you are seeking to be the guardian over.  The attorney will participate in all aspects of the case to represent the adult's wishes.

Next Step: Serve the Relatives and Required Agencies

After you complete the steps on this page, a copy of the Petition and the Citation must be served on the proposed protected person's relatives and possibly some other agencies.  The Court does not serve the papers for you. It is up to YOU to make sure all of the required people are served after you file for guardianship. After you have completed the steps on this page, learn all about how to have the relatives and required agencies served by visiting the Serving the Relatives page.