As Nebraska’s elderly population continues to grow, the need for guardians and conservators will continue to increase. In response, the Nebraska legislature has adopted new laws which went into effect on January 1, 2012. These laws are designed to provide the courts with more information on the individual who seeks guardianship or conservatorship and about the ward’s assets before the nominated guardian or conservator has access to the ward’s financial assets.

Highlights of the new laws include:

  • The definition of “interested person” has been revised to increase the number of persons/entities monitoring the actions of a guardian or conservator.
  • A court may enter an ex parte order upon application of an interested person filing an affidavit showing the court that the safety, health or financial welfare of the ward or protected person is at issue.
  • A guardian or conservator may not move a ward outside of Nebraska without first obtaining permission from the court.
  • Copies of all essential reports must be mailed to all listed interested parties which increases oversight and monitoring of the guardian or conservator.
  • A guardian or conservator must notify the court regarding changes in the ward’s address or demise.

These new laws should permit nursing home facilities to bring concerns or problems about a guardian or conservator to the court’s attention, as well as keeping facilities informed about the financial status of the ward through receipt of most documents the guardian or conservator files with the court. Ultimately, having a larger safety net monitoring the lives and finances of these vulnerable individuals should ensure that they are properly protected.