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6. Resolving Disputes About Guardianships and Conservatorships

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Q32:   How do I change a guardian?

A32:       Any person interested in the welfare of the protected person may petition for removal of a guardian if it would be in the best interest of the protected person.  This means that almost anyone who is interested in the life of the ward can seek to have a guardian removed or a new guardian appointed; even the ward can petition.  A person “interested in welfare” should not be confused with the “interested party.” 

Q33:   If a person identified as an “interested party” doesn’t respond to the initial Notice of Interested Party Form that I send out, am I, as guardian, required to send a new Notice of Interested Party Form to them every year?

A33:       No.  The only time a guardian is required to notify a potential interested party is at the initiation of the proceeding.  If the potential interested party fails to return the form indicating they wish to remain a party, they are considered a non-interested party and you as the guardian are no longer required to mail copies of documents filed with the court or notice of court hearings.

Q34:  My family or friends cannot agree about whether my loved one needs a guardian or conservator or who should be appointed.  What should I do?

A34:       The petition must nominate who is to be appointed as the guardian or conservator. You can try to negotiate an acceptable nomination with the interested parties involved.  One possible approach to resolve who should be guardian is mediation.  Mediation is a confidential process for resolving disagreements that is facilitated by a trained, neutral third-party mediator.  The goal of mediation is to give all parties a chance to be heard in a safe, comfortable environment where the family and others may decide a fair solution.  Mediation sessions can be voluntarily scheduled at any time agreed upon. Nebraska has six regional mediation centers across the state.

                Keep in mind that if someone challenges your petition for guardianship or conservatorship, that will change the proceedings into what is called a “contested guardianship” or “contested conservatorship.”  Contested guardianship or conservatorship proceedings can negatively impact relationships and be emotionally taxing for everyone involved.  Intimate details concerning the lives of the ward and of the prospective guardian or conservator will likely surface in a public forum.  If a guardianship or conservatorship case is contested, the court has the power to order all parties to mediation.  In that circumstance, all parties must participate.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2911(1)(d).

Q35:   Why would mediation be a good idea?

A35:       There are a number of benefits of going to mediation when there is disagreement among friends and family members. Mediation:

  • Provides personalized solutions to difficult problems. You and the other participants have direct input in the solutions agreed upon, instead of relying solely on a judge’s opinion.
  • Not only can resolve legal issues, but also helps with personal or familial problems.
  • Helps preserve relationships by using a collaborative process instead of an adversarial process.
  • Can reduce the likelihood of future, reoccurring disputes by helping the other participants find ways avoid or manage future disagreements.
  • Able to save time and money.

 

Q36:   What happens in a mediation session?

A36:       There may be one or two mediators who will facilitate discussion by asking questions to help those involved identify the key conflicts and to make sure issues are clear to the participants.  Everyone will have an opportunity to be heard and to share their viewpoint in a structured environment.  The mediators will help participants engage in creative and collaborative dialogue to determine possible solutions by exploring ways to come to an agreement to resolve the issues at hand. www.themediationcenter.org/faq.html.

This page was last modified on Saturday, June 21, 2014