Court Appointment Process

Court Appointment Process

The Nebraska Legislature passed the Public Guardianship Act in 2014 through Legislative Bill 920. The Act states, “The Legislature intends that establishment of the Office of Public Guardian will provide services for individuals when no private guardian or private conservator is available. The Legislature also finds that alternatives to full guardianship and less intrusive means of intervention should always be explored, including, but not limited to, limited guardianship, temporary guardianship, conservatorship, or the appointment of a payee. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a public guardian or public conservator only to those individuals whose needs cannot be met through less intrusive means of intervention.” Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-4102.

The Public Guardianship Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 30-4101 through 30-4118, outlines the responsibilities and duties of the Office of Public Guardian. Generally, the Office of Public Guardian is to:

  1. Act as guardian/conservator of last resort
  2. Safeguard the rights of individuals by supporting the least restrictive alternative
  3. Model the highest standard of practice to improve performance of all guardians and conservators in Nebraska
  4. Act as resource to guardians/conservators for information
  5. Provide training for newly appointed private/family guardians and conservators
  6. Recruit members of the public and family members to serve as guardians or conservators
  7. Make reasonable efforts to locate successor guardians/conservators
  8. Develop a uniform system of collecting and reporting statistical data regarding guardians and conservators

Nebraska Supreme Court Rules were amended to implement the intent of the Legislature and the Public Guardianship Act, the specific nomination process outlined in Neb. Ct. R. §§ 6-1443.01 and 6-1443.02.

In accordance with the Public Guardianship Act’s mandate that the OPG serve as guardian/conservator only for individuals for whom there is no other alternative, in the least restrictive manner, and as a last resort cases are screened by a Court Visitor or Guardian ad Litem appointed by the court. The Court Visitor or Guardian ad Litem screens to determine if the case meets the requirements for the Office of Public Guardian to serve under the Act and provide information on the individual’s capacity regarding least restrictive means. Court Visitor and Guardian ad Litem qualifications and responsibilities are in accordance with the Nebraska Probate Code for all such appointments; although the report form, as specified by court rule Neb. Ct. R. § 6-1443.01(E), is unique to the OPG nomination process.

The Office of Public Guardian appointment process flowcharts are available - Nomination Process and Emergency Appointment Process.

If you have any questions, please refer to the Office of Public Guardian FAQ page.