Guardianship/Conservatorship Responsibilities to the Court

The relationship between a Guardian and a Ward is a legal one and applicable laws and court rules must be followed. This NebGuide, the second in a series of seven, discusses Guardianship responsibilities.

Development Team of
Eileen M. Krumbach, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska
Richard J. Bischoff, Professor, UNL Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
Sue Fredricks, Executive Director, Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS), Omaha
Thomas K. Harmon, Attorney at Law, Omaha
Bruce A. Cudly, Nebraska Region V Services
Dianne D. Delair, Staff Attorney, Nebraska Advocacy Services, Inc.
Julie J. Hippen, Program Specialist, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Adult Protective Services
Marla J. Fischer-Lempke, Executive Director, The Arc of Nebraska
Mary Evans, Guardian
Sheryl L. Connolly, Trial Court Services Director, Administrative Office of the Courts

Guardianship is a court-appointed relationship granting the Guardian certain powers and duties. Guardians have many and on-going responsibilities both to the Ward and to the Court. This is one of seven NebGuides in this series.

Responsibilities to the Court

First, this is a legal relationship. As such, the Guardian has to follow the law and the court rules that apply to Guardians.

The initial step in having a Guardian/Conservator appointed for an individual is to petition the court for the appointment. At the time of this request, a list of interested parties will be created by the person asking for the hearing and/or his attorney. An “interested party” is generally a person, such as a spouse, children, parents, or someone who could be an heir to the estate of the individual for whom the Guardian/Conservator is sought. It also may be any person who wishes to step forward and has a concern in the interest and well-being of the individual.

These interested parties are sent a notice of the hearing and asked to indicate whether they want to receive future information and notices. Before the initial hearing, the person to be appointed as Guardian/Conservator needs to have obtained

These reports need to be filed with the county court 10 days prior to the initial hearing.

Forms, Records, and Requirements of Appointed Guardians/Conservators

If, after the hearing, the judge agrees that the individual needs a Guardian/Conservator, an order appointing that person will be entered. It will list the Guardian/Conservator’s specific duties. The Guardian/Conservator will sign the Acceptance of Appointment Guardian and Conservator form.

This form lists the requirements that need to be completed before the Guardian/Conservator receives his/her “Letters of Guardianship/Conservatorship,” and a list of forms that must be completed and filed with the court, including:

After submitting these forms, the “Letters of Guardianship/Conservatorship” will be issued. The continuing responsibilities to the court will include:

All of these forms need to be sent to all interested parties along with a Notice of Right to Object Form. The Affidavit of Mailing form must be sent to the court after annual information is sent to interested parties.

In addition to the above responsibilities, Guardians/Conservators should do the following as needed.

The contents of the court file will be reviewed by the clerks of the court to determine if all of the information and forms have been completed as required. If the Guardian/Conservator has not completed the requirements as needed, he/she will receive a Notice of Need for Corrective Action(s).


A Model Code of Ethics for Guardians. National Guardianship Association. 1998. Tucson, Ariz.

Developmental Disability Law: A Manual for Nebraska Advocates. Nebraska Advocates Services. 1996. Lincoln, Nebr.

Nebraska Revised Statutes, Article 26, Section 30.

Standards of Practice. National Guardianship Association. 2003. Tucson, Ariz.

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UNL Guardianship website at http://www.extension.unl.edu//guardianship/ includes information, helpful links, and a calendar of educational workshops and programs.

This publication has been peer reviewed.

Visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Publications website for more publications.
Index: Family Life
2005, Revised December 2011