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      Guardianship Issues Addressed in State of the Judiciary

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      Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican addressed recently revealed problems in the state's guardianship system during his State of the Judiciary address on Friday.

      Heavican says the courts are developing an internal audit system for guardianship cases. This comes after the state auditor's office uncovered a case of suspected fraud related to the guardianship of hundreds of Nebraskans.

      The audit released in November found mismanagement of state payment programs to legal guardians for the blind, elderly and disabled as well as grounds for a criminal case against Judith Widener, who was appointed as a guardian to more than 600 people throughout Nebraska.

      Heavican says in addition to the internal audit, the courts will also require guardians to submit a list of their active cases to a judge before they are appointed to new ones.

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