What Is a Guardianship?

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

A Minnesota Guardianship Attorney Explains What Guardianship Means

Under Minnesota law, a Guardianship is a process by which a Court appoints someone to act as the surrogate decision-maker for an incapacitated person.

Why is Guardianship needed?

A guardianship may be needed for two different scenarios.

  1. Care of a minor child if there is no longer a person with legal parental authority.
  2. Providing care to an incapacitated adult. “Incapacitated” means that a person is over 18 and is unable to make decisions or manage his own affairs due to medical or physical infirmity.

Care of a Minor Child.

If the legal parents of a minor child are no longer able to provide care, a court may appoint a guardian to handle matters related to the child’s care and well-being. The guardian has the power to determine where the child will live and handle medical care.

A Guardianship for An Incapacitated Adult.

Guardianship is needed when a young adult has serious developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injury and reaches the age of legal adulthood (18). Guardianship may be needed when an elderly person with advanced dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia or Parkinson’s disease can no longer safely manage his medical and financial affairs, but never signed any power of attorney or health care proxy.

The Guardianship process requires court proceedings in the Minnesota county where the incapacitated person resides. Guardianship may also be needed if the incapacitated person signed a limited type of power of attorney which is insufficient to take care of everything that is needed. For instance, a banking power of attorney is only useful for banking.

Guardianship Attorney

I will tackle the process required to obtain a guardianship in a later post.  The process can be complicated and confusing so you should call a qualified guardianship attorney to discuss your particular needs before trying to wade into the deep end alone.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.