For individuals filing for guardianship starting this year the new law and court rules require the filing of a national criminal history record check, a check of the Abuse and Neglect Registries for adults and children, a check with the sex offender registry, and a credit check, 10 days before the hearing to appoint a permanent guardian of an adult. The information will not be disclosed to non-parties without the court’s written consent. The respondent (proposed ward) is certainly a party and the term party could be argued to include others who participate in the proceeding, e.g. an interested party who objects to a petition.
If the order of appointment is issued this year the new guardian or conscervator much provide a number of forms before getting their letters from the clerk’s office. A Proof of Restricted Account is supposed to be filed within 10 days to prove establishment of any required account. There are information sheets, an inventory with an affidavit of due diligence, and any required bond. The rules also ask for a form from financial institutions holding accounts of the ward showing that the order for appointment was provided to them. The requirement to attend a class within 90 days of appointment remains the same.
All guardians and conservators, even thouse appointed years ago, are now required to gain court approval before making ATM withdrawals or receiving cash back on a debit card. They must also file their Letters with the Register of Deeds in any county where the ward has a real property interest. Reporting forms and requirements have also changed, and all reports will receive some level of third party review.
These, along with other new requirements, are designed to provide additional protection to wards. They will also make the entire process more expensive and time consuming. I know a number of professionals who says that they are either going to stop working in this area altogether or raise their fees substantially, making pre-planning alternatives like durable power of attorney documents even more appealling. Court staff, guardians, wards, and their legal counsel will all be working through the additional guardianship requirements throughout the coming months.
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Guardianship and Conservatorship Changes in Nebraska for 2012