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Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Blog

Monday, December 2, 2019

GUARDIANSHIP SERIES, PART I: WHAT IS A GUARDIANSHIP?

A Minnesota Guardianship Attorney Explains What It Means to be a Guardian.

It’s that time of year when family is back together, maybe for the first time in months or years. In spending time with your Dad, you make the heart-wrenching discovery that he has become incapable of caring for himself. Perhaps he has difficulty remembering to eat or is unable to property dress himself. You know he needs help and you want to assist him, but how?

If Dad is unable to dress or feed himself and you are concerned that continuing to live alone poses a risk, you may need to seek a guardianship. If he has a validly executed Minnesota Health Care Directive, that may be sufficient to allow you to assist him. However, if not, you should seek advice from a Minnesota guardianship attorney.

Obtaining legal guardianship is complicated and invasive. You will need to file papers in court stating that he can no longer care for himself; a difficult scenario for a child who is concerned about a parent. As such, pursuing a guardianship should be considered a last resort. But if guardianship does become necessary, this series of blog posts will assist you in understanding a bit about the process to obtain a guardianship in Minnesota Probate Courts. This series will deal solely with the guardianship procedure. We will discuss the conservatorship process in another series. A hint: Guardianship grants you the ability to make decisions about another person’s personal care (living arrangements or health care decisions) while a conservatorship is all about the money!

What is guardianship?
A court-ordered guardian has legal authority to make decisions about another person’s health and living circumstances. As guardian, you are not responsible for your senior’s finances. In some cases, though, signing medical or care agreements makes you the “guarantor” and therefore, financially responsible. So, read carefully before you sign, and seek legal advice if you have any questions.

For the most part, you will use a guardianship to determine where the person will live (e.g. independent living vs. full-time nursing care).

How can you be appointed a guardian?
Guardians are appointed by state courts and must be filed in the county in which the protected person (your Dad) lives. Typically, you’ll file legal papers and then have a hearing in front of a judge. Your Dad, and anyone considered an interested person (spouse, children) will be notified and given the opportunity to contest the proposed guardianship.

The court will appoint a visitor, and an attorney, to meet your father to determine whether or not he understands the proceedings. Then you attend a hearing to determine whether a guardianship is needed and if you meet the requirements to be appointed. Once you’ve been appointed as guardian, you may be required to return to court either to report on or to gain approval for major decisions made on behalf of your Dad.

Minnesota Guardianship and Conservatorship Lawyer

Call Chris Tymchuck today at 952-955-7623 to speak with an experienced Minnesota guardianship lawyer who can help walk you through the process of establishing a Minnesota guardianship. 




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From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.


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