New Mexico lawmakers weigh reforms of guardianship system

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ANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Legislation aimed at overhauling New Mexico’s guardianship laws has cleared its first committee.

The measure would require guardianship proceedings to be open to the public and that more notification be given to family members when a legal guardian is appointed and if guardians fail to carry out their duties.

A series of investigative articles published last year by the Albuquerque Journal raised questions about the lack of oversight and transparency within the system.

The New Mexico Supreme Court created a commission to study the system. That panel has since made numerous recommendations, some of which have been incorporated into the bill.

The push for change also has been bolstered by recent federal criminal cases in which executives from two nonprofit firms that handled guardianship and conservatorship duties in New Mexico allegedly embezzled millions of dollars of client funds.

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