Senior Woman Signing Documents in Her Home

The Guardianship Process

You worry about your parents. Lately, your dad seems more forgetful and confused. He is suddenly vulnerable and unable to care for his basic needs. Now what? Friends have told you to get a guardianship for him. What does that mean?

In Minnesota, obtaining guardianship for a parent involves several steps. Please note a guardianship is not the same as a conservatorship. A guardianship is solely for the purpose of caring for your father NOT his finances. If you need to handle his financial matters, you also need to obtain a conservatorship. I will cover that process in a different post.

This post provides a general overview of the process for obtaining a Minnesota guardianship below:

  1. Determine if guardianship is necessary. A Guardianship is the legal process in which the court grants you the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of your father. The court makes the determination that your dad is no longer able to make decisions for himself. affects their ability to make decisions.
  1. Hire an attorney. It is highly recommended that you hire an attorney who specializes in guardianship law in Minnesota. The guardianship process is complicated and confusing. This is by design as the court wants to be sure before taking away your father’s right to manage his own care. We can guide you through the legal process, help you complete the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court.
  1. File a petition for guardianship. We will work with you to draft and file a petition for guardianship with the court in the county where your parent resides. The petition should include information about why guardianship is necessary and why you are the best person to serve as guardian. The petition is very detailed and specific, so it is best to work with an attorney to help draft it for the best chance at court approval.
  1. Serve notice. You will need to serve notice of the guardianship hearing to your father, any other interested parties, and the court. Service to your dad must be done in a very specific way to meet with the legal standard.
  1. Attend the guardianship hearing. The court will hold a hearing to determine if guardianship is necessary and who should serve as guardian. You will need to present evidence and testimony to support your petition.
  1. Obtain the guardianship order. If the court grants the petition, it will issue a guardianship order. This order will outline the powers and responsibilities of the guardian. You then have several immediate steps to take to verify your new appointment.
  1. Fulfill the duties of the guardian. Once you have been appointed as guardian, you will need to fulfill your duties, which may include managing your dad’s living arrangements, medical decisions, and providing for their day-to-day care. You also have annual reporting and hearing requirements in continuing to care for him.

It is important to note that guardianship is a serious legal arrangement that should not be taken lightly. You should carefully consider whether guardianship is necessary and whether you are the best person to serve as guardian before pursuing this option. If you determine your father does need a guardian, please reach out immediately to a knowledgeable and experienced Minnesota guardianship attorney.