Under certain circumstances, a court may act and appoint a person who will be tasked with making personal decisions for a person found to be incapable of making these decisions on their own. The appointed person is referred to as a “guardian.” The position they have taken on is referred to as a “guardianship.”
What Is a Guardianship?
Those undertaking guardianship are providing a critical service to someone in need. The guardian is the person who is granted the legal right to make personal decisions on behalf of another person. The other person is referred to as the “ward” and they are appointed a guardian due to the inability to effectively make decisions on their own behalf. Minnesota recognizes two different types of wards. There are wards who are minors under the age of 18. There are also wards who are disabled adults. A minor cannot become a ward unless both parents are dead, unavailable, or found to be legally unfit and there are no other suitable alternatives to a guardian appointment.
If a minor has been legally emancipated due to marriage or some other reason, he or she cannot become a ward unless declared disabled. An adult or emancipated minor can become a ward if he or she suffers a disability preventing the ability to make effective day-to-day decisions. These types of decisions can relate to anything from personal care, to meeting basic needs such as food and shelter.
There are many different types of roles that guardians can take on in Minnesota. A guardian is not, however, empowered to make financial decisions on behalf of the ward. A conservator must be appointed for this. A guardian may be empowered to determine such things as where a ward will live and have the ability to consent to medical treatment on the ward’s behalf. In the event that a conservator has not been appointed, the guardian does have the ability to apply for things such as public assistance on behalf of the ward. The guardian may also prevent the ward from entering into contracts, except for those related to basic needs. The court is tasked with assigning the powers of the guardian based on the needs of the ward.
To appoint a guardian, the process will begin with the person seeking the guardianship appointment filing a petition with the Minnesota probate court. The court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the preconditions for guardianship are present. The court will then monitor the background investigation for the purpose of determining whether or not the proposed guardian is qualified for the position. The court makes the selection of a guardian based on the best interests of the ward.
The guardianship process can be complicated and when you have a loved one in need of a guardian, time is often of the essence. Unique Estate Law is here to help you through this process. We are here to answer your questions and provide trusted legal counsel. Contact Unique Estate Law today.