Guardianship / Conservatorship in Nebraska

Guardianship / Conservatorship in Nebraska

When persons are unable to make responsible decisions about their finances, property, living situations or care because of their age, physical or mental condition, a petition can be filed with the county courts to appoint a Guardian or Conservator. Court-appointed guardians/conservators manage the personal and/or financial affairs of vulnerable persons who can no longer protect themselves.

  • Guardian: Person(s) appointed by the court to make the personal decisions for the protected person. The guardian may be given authority to make decisions on behalf of the protected person about such things as where to live, medical decisions, training and education, etc.
     
  • Conservator: Person(s) appointed to make financial decisions for the protected person. The conservator typically is given the power to enter into contracts, pay bills, invest assets, and perform other financial functions for the protected person.

Establishing a Guardianship / Conservatorship

Establishing a Guardianship / Conservatorship
Establishing a Guardianship / Conservatorship

Establishing a guardianship or conservatorship limits the rights of the person to be protected, and the process provides several safeguards for their protection.

The Nebraska Judicial Branch does not publish instructions or forms for the establishment of guardianship or conservatorship. If you need to establish a guardianship or conservatorship you should talk with a lawyer.

Information on the following link may assist you if you can’t afford an attorney or don’t know of an attorney in this area of law:  https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/self-help/legal-resources-information

Education is required for those serving as guardians and or conservators in Nebraska. Classes and support for guardians and conservators are provided by the Office of Public Guardian.   https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/programs-services/office-public-guardian

The classes also provide an excellent introduction to the role of the guardian, if you are considering taking on those responsibilities.  

Qualifying for Appointment as Guardian or Conservator

Qualifying for Appointment as Guardian or Conservator
Qualifying for Appointment as Guardian or Conservator

Once the petition for appointment of a guardian has been filed with the court, notice of the petition and a court date is given to the person to be protected and interested persons. 

The proposed guardian or conservator must submit all four of the reports listed below to the court at least 10 days prior to the hearing to be appointed as Guardian/Conservator, unless the report is waived by order of the court or the appointment is an emergency or temporary. Records will be kept confidential by the court.

  1. Credit Report
    • A complete and detailed credit report from any established credit reporting agency/business is accepted. (A credit score without supporting information is not sufficient.)
  2. Sex Offender Registry
  3. Criminal History
    • Nebraska law requires a national criminal history check. National checks are currently unavailable; courts are accepting state-specific reports from the proposed guardian/conservator’s state(s) of residence at this time.
    • Nebraska residents use Nebraska State Patrol Criminal History Reports for Arrest and Prosecution (RAP) sheet.
  4. Abuse, Neglect Registry

If you have questions or input regarding guardianships or conservatorships, send an email to nsc.guardianconservator@nebraska.gov. Personnel responding to this e-mail are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. 

Information for Guardians and Conservators

Information for Guardians and Conservators
Information for Guardians and Conservators

Guardians and conservators are required to report annually on the condition and finances of the protected person to the court that appointed them.  Contact information for county courts can be found in this list.

A transcript of the changes for Guardian and Conservator requirements under Nebraska Supreme Court rules effective April 1, 2020 are outlined here.  The attached letter from State Court Administrator, Corey Steel, outlines reporting responsibilities under the new rules and will be sent to each guardian and conservator with the annual notice of report due.

The Office of the Public Guardian has lots of information for guardians and conservators, including a video to further explain the changes in the rules.  If you have any other questions, contact your Court.

Annual Reporting Requirements:

If you were appointed

  • Guardian with control of the ward's assets, complete the forms in Packet A if the ward is an adult or in Packet MA if the ward is a minor.
  • Guardian with a court-approved budget, complete the forms in Packet B if the ward is an adult or in Packet MB is the ward is a minor.
  • Conservator, complete the forms in Packet C if the protected person is an adult or a minor.
  • Both guardian and conservator, complete the forms in Packet D if the ward is an adult or in Packet MD if the ward is a minor.
  • Guardian without control of the ward's assets, complete the forms in Packet E if the ward is an adult or in Packet ME if the ward is a minor.

Notice to Interested Persons

Copies of the Annual Reports and other guardian and conservator case information must be provided to Interested Parties.  Interested Parties include:

1.  Government agencies 

  • Nebraska Supreme Court Rule §6-1433 requires that any governmental agency paying benefits on behalf of the ward, incapacitated person, protected person, or minor, be considered an interested person in a guardianship or conservatorship. This means that if your ward/incapacitated person/protected person gets social security or V.A. benefits, for example, you must send a copy of your annual report to the governmental agency. This is in addition to any other interested persons to whom you are currently sending reports and notice.
  • Listing of Governmental Agency Addresses for Guardians/Conservators

2.  Interested persons who are entitled to get notice of guardianship and conservatorship proceedings are defined by law.

Forms to Assist in Guardianship / Conservatorship Process

Court and Agency Resources

Court and Agency Resources
Court and Agency Resources

Many agencies and organizations throughout the State provide information about guardianships and/or conservatorships. A few Nebraska resources are listed below:

 

Nebraska Supreme Court Commission on Guardianships and Conservatorships

The Nebraska Supreme Court Commission on Guardianships and Conservatorships purpose is to engage in continuing analysis and study of statutes, court rules, and court procedures relating to guardianships and conservatorships. This commission examines the challenges these laws and procedures pose for court staff, the judiciary, the practicing bar, vulnerable adults and children and their legal guardians and conservators, and other professionals and service providers working with protected persons and wards.

 

Guardian/Conservator Laws and Rules

 

Adult Protective Services Hotline Information:

If you have reason to believe a vulnerable adult has been abused, neglected, or exploited:

  • Call the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-800-652-1999 OR your local law enforcement.

 

CONTACT

Sheryl Connolly
Trial Court Services Director
1213 State Capitol
1445 K Street/P.O. Box 98910
Lincoln, NE 68509
402-471-2671