How to Become a Guardian or Conservator of a Disabled Adult Child in Nebraska

Guardianships and conservatorships have a lot of detail around them. Setting one up is often not as easy as you would think. On top of that, being a guardian or conservator typically requires a lot of effort. However, it is of the utmost importance to make sure your guardianship or conservatorship is set up correctly. If you plan on setting up a guardianship or conservatorship, you should know what they are, the difference between a guardian and conservator, why they are important, when one should be set up, and the requirements you must meet before becoming one.

What is a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship?

Guardianships and conservatorships are legal representations whereby the court orders an individual the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of another individual, referred to as the ward of the court. They allow an individual to exercise legal rights on behalf of the mentally or physically disabled person who may not be able to act in their own best interest. They can sign leases on behalf of the ward, they can open bank accounts for them, they can pay bills, they can keep up on their medical care, they can ensure that the ward is taken care of in all aspects. By creating a guardianship or conservatorship, one can ensure that the wellbeing of the ward is protected.

What’s the Difference Between a Guardian and a Conservator?

Although a guardian and conservator are similar, they each perform different roles for the ward. A guardian is someone who represents a ward and handles their day-to-day living. They make sure that the they have a safe, secure place to live, that they’re getting the medical care that they need, and that they’re handling their everyday needs. A conservator, on the other hand, handles only the financial aspect of the ward’s life.

Why Should I Set Up a Guardianship or Conservatorship?

Setting up a guardianship or conservatorship is important in preserving the wellbeing of a ward. An adult disabled child is not legally competent, usually, to sign documents or keep track of their finances. So, they would need somebody to do that for them. By having a trusted family member or friend handle the daily aspects and finances on behalf of a disabled adult child, the assets and livelihood of the ward can be protected. It also allows them to have access to the ward or to their child’s medical records, financial records, to make sure they’re being cared for appropriately, that they’re getting the right medical care they need, and that their disability money is going to help their specific needs. Usually, in these situations, a good guardian or conservator is somebody close to the family that has grown up with this person. They know what this person likes to do, understands their lifestyle, and, most importantly, are trustworthy.

When Should I Set Up a Guardianship or Conservatorship?

The best time to set up a guardianship or conservatorship is before the disabled adult child becomes a legal adult. In the state of Nebraska, this happens when they turn 19. If you are interested in becoming a conservator or guardian for your disabled adult child, you should consult an attorney when the ward is around the age of 18. This will allow you to make sure that the ward is set up for a successful transition to a legal adult.

The Requirements to Become a Conservator or Guardian

To become a guardian or conservator, you must apply with the court. The court requires you to undergo a class, follow a background check, and provide information about your own personal finances. There are certainly other court requirements that you must jump through as well. There is some paperwork you must submit. There’s annual reporting that’s due. In some situations, you must ask the court permission to spend money. You also must answer to the court on a yearly basis.

Dedicated Conservatorship and Guardianship Lawyers

Our Elder Law team at Berry Law is committed to helping families manage their assets, finances, and estate. If you know a disabled adult child or elder family member that you would like to set up a guardianship or conservatorship for, we can help. Contact one of our skilled Omaha guardianship lawyers today to schedule a consultation.

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