Guardianship and Conservatorship

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Overview

What is a Guardian and a Conservator?

guardian is appointed by the court to make the personal decisions for the protected person ("Ward".) The guardian has authority to make decisions on behalf of the protected person about such things as where to live, medical decisions, training and education, etc.

Wards are minors or incapacitated adults who have a court appointed guardian, lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible personal decisions, and who have an inability to meet personal needs for medical care, nutrition, clothing, shelter, or safety.

conservator is appointed to make financial decisions for the protected person ("Conservatee".) The conservator typically has the power to enter into contracts, pay bills, invest assets, and perform other financial functions for the protected person.

Protected persons are those individuals who have had conservators appointed for them because they lack similar capacity and have demonstrated an inability to make decisions regarding their financial affairs or estate.
 
If you want to have custody or be the "legal guardian" of a minor child, see Child Custody & Parenting Time for more information, or talk to a lawyer. For information about protecting the interests of minor children involved in the courts, go to Guardian ad Litem Program.
 

Guardianship/Conservatorship Video

This video was produced for general educational purposes by the 4th Judicial District of Minnesota. The content is not a substitute for legal advice from a lawyer. The information is based on Minnesota laws, but some information may be specific to a particular Judicial District or County Court.

Guardianship/Conservatorship Video (34 min.) Windows   MAC   Mobile


 
Overview
The Guardian and Conservator Registry, the result of Minnesota Statute 525.5-119, is a statewide registration system for court guardians and conservators appointed under sections 524.5-101 to 524.5-502.
 

Searching the Registry

There are 2 options available when searching the Guardian and Conservator Registry:
  • Search by Name: Search the registry by exact, partial or similar-sounding Last/Business Name.
  • Search by Case Number: Search the registry by the Case Number associated with a Guardian/Conservator.

* Note that any information accessed through the Guardian and Conservator Registry will be accurate as of the previous day.

Click here for instructions on searching and viewing the Guardian and Conservator Registry.
If you are appointed as a guardian in a guardianship case, you must complete certain tasks every year that the guardianship is in effect.


Step 1:

Mark the date you were appointed as a guardian on your personal calendar, and then make a note of that anniversary date every year that the guardianship is in effect.
 

Step 2:

Download and print the Annual Reporting Forms Packet from this website. The Packet includes three forms:
  • Personal Well-being Report;
  • Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity or Other Relief; and
  • Affidavit of Service.

Step 3:

Every year that the guardianship is in effect, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a guardian, you must fill out and sign the Annual Reporting Forms Packet. NOTE: If there is more than one guardian, each co-guardian must fill out and sign a set of forms.
 

Step 4:

The guardian(s) must make copies of their completed Personal Well-being Report and Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity or Other Relief form, and then arrange to have copies served on the ward and all interested persons whose names are on record with the court. Service can be done by mail or in person.
 

Step 5:

Once service has been completed, the guardian must fill out and sign the Affidavit of Service form included in the Packet. That is a sworn document that says service was completed, and it is a document that you must sign in front of a court clerk or Notary Public. You file the Affidavit of Service with the court, but you do not have to give copies of the Affidavit to anyone else.
 

Step 6:

The guardian(s) then must file the original copy of their Annual Reporting Forms Packet with the court, including the Affidavit of Service, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as guardian.


Successor Guardian or Conservator

If the court appointed you to be a guardian and/or conservator, but you are no longer able to serve in that role, you should consult with an attorney right away about asking the Court to appoint a Successor Guardian or Conservator by completing and filing a new Petition for Appointment of a General Guardian or Conservator. To ask the court to discharge you from your role, you must file a Petition with the court and identify someone else who may be qualified to serve as a guardian and/or conservator.

The court does not publish step-by-step instructions on completing and filing the Petition paperwork, but the Guardianship / Conservatorship Manual offers basic explanations of legal terms, forms, and the court process. We strongly encourage you to get help from an attorney.
 
Guardianship / Conservatorship Court Forms are available on this website.
If you are appointed as a conservator, you must complete certain tasks every year that the conservatorship is in effect.
 

Step 1:

Mark the date you were appointed as a conservator on your personal calendar, and then make a note of that anniversary date every year that the conservatorship is in effect.
 

Step 2:

Within 60 days of being appointed as conservator, go to the online MyMNConservator (MMC) system and file an Inventory Report. You only have to do this step one time when you are first appointed as conservator.
 
Tip: To save time entering information into MMC, gather details about the ward’s property and assets before going online. As a worksheet, use the Inventory Form #GAC13 (pp.1-3). If the ward in your case does not have certain property, you may leave those things blank. You do NOT file that form worksheet with the court because you enter the information into MMC.
 

Step 3:

Every year that the conservatorship is in effect, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a conservator, you must log onto to the MyMNConservator (MMC) system and file an Annual Accounting. Conservators may be also required to file an original Verification of Funds on Deposit and/or Verification of Stocks and Securities with the Court in paper format, so check with your local Court about requirements in your case.
 

Step 4:

Every year that the conservatorship is in effect, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a conservator, the conservator must fill out and sign the Annual Notice of Right to Petition to Restoration to Capacity. Then you must make copies of the completed Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity and arrange to have copies served on the ward and all interested persons whose names are on record with the court. Service can be done by mail or in person.
 

Step 5:

Once service has been completed, then the conservator must fill out and sign the Affidavit of Service form included with the Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity form. That is a sworn document that says service was completed. You must sign that form in front of a court clerk or Notary Public. You must then file the completed Affidavit of Service with the court, but you do not have to give copies of the Affidavit to anyone else.
 

Step 6:

The conservator then must file the original copy of the Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity and the Affidavit of Service with the court within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as conservator.
 

Successor Guardian or Conservator

If the court appointed you to be a guardian and/or conservator, but you are no longer able to serve in that role, you should consult with an attorney right away about asking the Court to appoint a Successor Guardian or Conservator by completing and filing a new Petition for Appointment of a General Guardian or Conservator. To ask the court to discharge you from your role, you must file a Petition with the court and identify someone else who may be qualified to serve as a guardian and/or conservator.

The court does not publish step-by-step instructions on completing and filing the Petition paperwork, but the Guardianship / Conservatorship Manual offers basic explanations of legal terms, forms, and the court process. We strongly encourage you to get help from an attorney.
 
 
The Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) operates statewide to audit conservator accounts and provide information and recommendations to the district courts and to conservators.

The mission of the Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) is to safeguard the assets of protected persons through the oversight of conservators by conducting professional compliance audits.  CAAP will promote public trust and confidence by collaborating with local courts to provide education, establish consistency of best practices in managing conservator accounts and maintain a statewide online system for the reporting of accounts.

CAAP audits all first annual accounts with bondable asset balances over $3000, subsequent accounts at regular intervals and accounts referred for audit by the court.  Accounts $3000 and below are subject to local examination.

Accounts are directed to the audit queue via programming within the MyMNConservator (MMC) accounting program.  Your report history tab will display reports that are in the audit queue as in the following example:

Screen Shot of CAAP User Interface

Once the case is assigned to an auditor, you will receive a letter requesting supporting documentation.  This documentation is returned once the audit is complete.  For additional information please refer to the Audit Tip Sheet.

MMC Help Line:  763-279-0176
CAAP Manager: Cate Boyko
 
The Court Visitor is someone with a legal, social work, or psychology background appointed by the Judge to serve, personally, the Order for Hearing/Notice of Rights and Petitions for Guardianship/Conservatorship on respondents.  The Court Visitor must also serve Petitions for Emergency or Successor Guardianship/Conservatorships, or change of status for Public Guardianship (developmentally delayed adults). Petitions for electroconvulsive therapy and sterilization are also served.  During the visit, an interview is conducted, a report is completed as to the respondent’s opinions, and a recommendation is made by the Visitor as to the appropriateness of the guardianship or conservatorship.  This report is reviewed prior to the hearing by the Judicial Officer and copies are also provided to the attorneys prior to the hearing.  The Visitor's report is a confidential document.

The Court Visitor also acts as a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) in Mental Health commitment cases.  The SDM is empowered to consent to the use of neuroleptic medication for incompetent consenters.  In this process, the patient is interviewed, the medical chart is reviewed, and there is discussion with members of the treatment team before a consent is signed.

Complaints by interested parties as to the inappropriate actions or difficulties experienced in dealing with the guardians or conservators are referred to the Court Visitor to investigate the issues and to report on the investigation directly to the Presiding Judge.
MN Court Forms - Guardianship / Conservatorship

NOTE: The MN Judicial Branch does not publish instructions for every guardianship or conservatorship form, but you can learn about the process by reading the Conservatorship & Guardianship Manual. You should talk with a lawyer to find out which specific forms to use in your situation and the procedures involved. Court Administartion can tell you about the Fees that must be paid. Another good resource for finding forms and how-to information on legal issues is your local law library.

Conservators must use MyMNConservator to e-file their annual reports with the court.
 
Rules & LawsThe following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to Guardianship/Conservatorship cases. We encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get advice on how the laws and rules may affect your case. Learn more about Law, Rules & Legal Research.
ResourcesA Manual on Guardianship and Conservatorship in Minnesota
This is a manual published by the Minnesota Judicial Branch and written especially for non-lawyers. The manual only addresses guardianship and conservatorship of adults, NOT minors.

The law on guardianship and conservatorship is very complex. We encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get legal advice about your situation.