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New Mexico Guardianship Association committed to improving the system in New Mexico

Since the New Mexico Guardianship Association’s creation, we have been committed to improving guardianship in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Guardianship Association is dedicated to its mission to ensure the highest standards of ethics and practice to serve and protect the best interest of those to whom they provide service. In furtherance of its mission, NMGA has initiated programs to assist family and professional guardians, including the annual guardianship symposium, family guardian round table, sponsoring the guardianship lunch discussion group, writing and updating the Alternatives to Guardianship & Conservatorship, and Handbook for Guardians and Conservators, producing the guardianship and conservatorship training video that is employed widely by the district courts, supporting certification for professional guardians and conservators, and involvement in the guardianship task force. Also in furtherance of our mission, we advocate and contribute to the development of effective regulation and legislation for the benefit of those receiving services.

Our association’s long history of involvement and commitment to the improvement of guardianship in New Mexico makes clear that our support for certain proposals is not in reaction to your stories, which we believe to be slanted, biased and inaccurate. We always work on ideas to improve the guardianship and have a constant dialogue about ways to improve. With this in mind, we have been working on some provisions for years, not because of your inaccurate stories, but because it ensures good practices going forward.

We have, for example, supported licensure and certification for professional guardians and conservators. However, licensure would require a significant investment by the state in a new commission and layers of bureaucracy that New Mexico cannot afford.

The National Guardianship Association has a certification process that 11 states already use and which would not require any outlay of state funds. While many professional guardians are certified, we support having all professional guardians be certified to ensure ethical and practice standards are being met.

NMGA without question supports accountability and monitoring of guardians and conservators. NMGA advocated for the funding of a pilot project designed to lay the groundwork for a monitoring program in the Second Judicial District Court. This project was struck by a line-item veto due to its cost.

We closely monitor the development of legislation. One aspect of the profession that Diane Dimond refused to acknowledge, however, is that the Uniform Law Commission has been working for two years on sweeping revisions to the Uniform Probate Code. We have reviewed the proposed legislation and submitted comments to the Uniform Law Commission. The proposed legislation will likely be finalized in summer 2017.

Consequently, we have been waiting on the commission to make its national recommendations for all states before pushing for any changes to the system here to avoid inconsistency, and the waste of legislative and judicial resources.

All of us have actively promoted increased protection for elders for many years to the collective tune of thousands of volunteer hours. Guardians, conservators, lawyers and others work very hard and know that every system can be improved. And, like most professional associations, we all work hard to make sure that the systems in place can be as good as they can.

It should be noted that family guardians are entitled to compensation for their services, also. We are entirely in support of disclosure of fees and the manner in which they are arrived at.

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