AARP Nebraska supports LB 920 to create an Office of Public Guardian. Nebraska is the only state without a public guardian office to protect incapacitated adults when no family member or suitable individual is available to handle their affairs. Forty-nine other states can’t all be wrong!
The current system relies on volunteers to fill the important roles of guardians and conservators, but this approach has fallen short of providing vulnerable adults the protection they need. While serving as the guardian of last resort, the Office of Public Guardian would also provide education, training and support to current and future guardians and conservators.
We anticipate that the need for public guardianship will grow as the population that is of advanced age grows. Life expectancy has increased at a faster rate than healthy years. So while we are living longer, we’re also living longer with some form of disability. And sometimes disabilities lead to a determination of incapacity.
Evaluations of public guardianship programs have shown positive outcomes such as improved quality of life, savings in the cost of service delivery, emotional support to clients and re-established relationships with family and friends.
We need to pass LB 920 to ensure that incapacitated adults will have effective guardians to protect them. The measure is sponsored by State Senators Coash, Ashford, Brasch, Davis, Harms, Lathrop, McGill, Schilz, Seiler and Watermeier.