Nebraska Standby Guardianship Law


In the state of Nebraska, a parent who is chronically ill or near death can nominate a standby guardian.  For appointment of a standby guardian, a petition must be filed and a hearing has to be held before the court.  If the child is above the age of 14, a notice must be served and the court will consider their preference.  The court can appoint a standby guardian for a minor whose parent expects the happening of a triggering event that may incapacitate him or her from taking care of a child.  The triggering events may be death, mental incapacity, or physical debilitation with consent.

The standby guardian’s authority may take effect, if the minor is left without a remaining parent, upon the death of the parent, the parent’s mental incapacity, or the physical debilitation and consent of the parent.  Even though the statute does not specify, it is likely that, on the happening of the triggering event, all confirming documents would need to be filed with the court.  If the child is born out of wedlock, the court will also consider the wishes of the deceased parent stated in a will, the acknowledgment of paternity by surviving parent, payment of child support, and fitness as a parent.  A notice of the hearing must be attempted by mail, personal service, or through newspaper. The standby parent, while living will have concurrent authority.

A standby guardian’s duties include a mixture of personal and estate management such as facilitating the child’s education, social activities and authorizing professional care, treatment and advice.  The guardianship will last until the child attains majority, or it is interrupted by some other event like adoption, marriage or death.

A non-custodial parent would take precedent over a guardian, unless s/he consented to standby guardianship, or all the parental rights are suspended by prior or current circumstances or prior court order.  The Nebraska state guardianship laws does not exclusively provide for parent to revoke the standby guardianship.  However, the court may revoke standby guardianship and has to approve the resignation.