2. Important Definitions

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2. Important Definitions

Below is a list of brief definitions that will help you as you read this Guide:

Best Interests:  The course of action that maximizes what is best for an individual, considering the least intrusive, least restrictive course of action available given the needs of the individual.

Conservator:  An individual, business or entity appointed by a court to manage the estate, property, and/or other business affairs of another individual.

Estate:   An individual’s land, possessions, or money.

Fiduciary:  A person who handles the financial affairs of someone else. This person might be a conservator, trustee, or guardian. It is also a term used by the Veteran’s Administration to designate someone who manages a veteran’s financial benefits.

Full Guardianship:  A guardianship in which all of the incapacitated person’s power to make decisions has been transferred to the guardian, except for those so personal that they cannot be transferred.

Guardian:  An individual who is appointed by a court to make decisions on behalf of a person found to be incapable of managing his or her own affairs.

Guardian Ad Litem:  An individual who is appointed by a court to represent the person’s best interests during court proceedings.

Incapacitated Person (Incapacity):  An individual who is impaired because of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs or alcohol, or other causes.  The impairment must be to the extent that the person does not have the sufficient understanding or the ability to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning himself or herself. The term “vulnerable adult” may also be used.

Interested Party:  Generally a person such as a spouse, child, parent, or someone who could be an heir to the estate of a ward or protected person. It may also be any person who may wish to step forward to express an interest in the well-being of the ward or protected person. An interested person also includes any governmental agency (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Social Security, and State Health and Human Services) paying benefits on behalf of the ward, incapacitated person, protected person, or minor; and any person designated by order of the court to be an interested person. 

Least Restrictive Alternative:  A mechanism, course of action, or environment that allows an individual to live, learn, and work in a setting which places as few limits as possible on the individual’s rights and personal freedoms as is appropriate to meet the needs of the ward.

Mediation:  A negotiation or discussion that is facilitated by a neutral, third party proficient as a mediator.

Protective Payee:  A person assigned by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to receive public assistance payments.

Protected Person:  A minor or other vulnerable adult for whom a conservator has been appointed.

Representative Payee:  A person appointed by the Social Security Administration to receive and manage benefits administered through the Social Security Administration.

Temporary Guardian:  When an emergency exists, a person appointed by the court to temporarily act as guardian when an individual is alleged to be incapacitated and has no guardian.

Testamentary Guardian:  A guardian who is assigned in a person’s Last Will and Testament to serve as a guardian, typically for a minor child.

Ward:  A person for whom a guardian is appointed.