Conservatorship

Note: A law went into effect on August 1, 2020 for guardianship and conservatorship cases. The law changed some of the words and processes used. A MN Supreme Court Order and related rule are also in effect that say the filing of non-public records to the court is controlled by court rules and court forms and not by the new law. Many court forms and resources have been updated to include these changes.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch has launched a new online training for individuals who have been appointed by a court to serve as a guardian or conservator. Learn More »

New program will increase audit frequency for conservator-managed accounts »​

Overview

What is a Conservator?

conservator is appointed to make financial decisions for the person subject to conservatorship. The conservator typically has the power to enter into contracts, pay bills, invest assets, and perform other financial functions for the person subject to conservatorship.

Persons subject to conservatorship 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.

Related: Learn about Guardianship »​
 

MyMNConservator (MMC) is an online conservator account reporting application that allows conservators to file their inventory and annual accountings electronically. MMC is exclusively for conservator reports. 

The MMC submission process includes a statement where conservators affirm they have served the annual notice of rights.
 

MyMNConservator


MyMNConservator Help Videos and Tutorials »

 

IMPORTANT!
New laws went into effect on August 1, 2020 for guardianship and conservatorship cases. The new laws change some of the words and processes. For example, the word “ward” has been changed to “person subject to guardianship” and “protected person” has been changed to “person subject to conservatorship.”

The MN Judicial Branch is in the process of updating the training resources listed below. We are making these resources available to you in their current form while working to update them because they have very helpful information, even if some of the words and procedures do not match the new laws.

Guardianship/Conservatorship Training »
 

Guardianship/Conservatorship Video »

MyMNConservator Help Videos and Tutorials »

If you are appointed as a conservator, you must complete certain tasks every year that the conservatorship is in effect. Most reports will be filed in MyMNConservator (MMC).
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.
File an Inventory Report within 60 days of being appointed as conservator in the MyMNConservator (MMC) system.

You only have to do this step one time when you are first appointed as conservator.
An Annual Accounting must be filed each year in MMC within 60 days of the anniversary date.

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. Check with your local Court about requirements in your case.
Every year that the conservatorship is in effect the conservator must fill out and sign the Annual Notice of Right to Petition to Restoration to Capacity.

This must be done within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a conservator.

Make copies of the completed Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity and arrange to have copies served on the person subject to conservatorship and all interested persons whose names are on record with the court. The person subject to conservatorship will also need to be served with a copy of the Bill of Rights. Service can be done by mail or in person.
Once service has been completed, the conservator should fill out and sign the Affidavit of Service form included with the Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity form. The Affidavit of Service is a sworn document that says service was completed. 

When you submit your accounting through MMC, you will document this service for the court. Keep the affidavit for your own records. If you are not filing accounts through MMC, you will need to file the affidavit with the court.

If the court appointed you to be a 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 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 conservator.


The court does not publish step-by-step instructions on completing and filing the Petition paperwork, but the Conservatorship & Guardianship Manual offers basic explanations of legal terms, forms, and the court process.

We strongly encourage you to get help from an attorney.

Any interested person to a Guardianship or Conservatorship as defined by Minn. Stat. § 524.5-102, subd. 7, including the Person Subject to Guardianship or Conservatorship (“Person”), can submit a complaint with the Minnesota Judicial Branch.
 
A complaint may be submitted when any interested person has reason to believe that a Guardian or Conservator is not following court orders or is otherwise not acting in the best interests of the Person Subject to Guardianship or Conservatorship.  
 
Examples of a Guardian or Conservator not acting in the best interests of the Person include, but are not limited to:
  • The Person’s residence is unsafe.
  • The Person is not receiving adequate and appropriate food or proper healthcare or medications.
  • The Guardian or Conservator is physically, mentally, or sexually abusing the Person, or failing to prevent or report abuse by another person.
  • Family or friends are not allowed to visit or communicate with the Person and the Guardian or Conservator has not informed the court and/or person or persons that a restriction has been placed on that person or persons (Minn. Stat. § 524.5-316(a)(3)).
  • The Guardian or Conservator is using the Person’s money or property for their own benefit.
  • The Guardian or Conservator has failed to provide an adequate accounting of the Person’s assets or failed to pay the Person’s bills.
  • The Guardian or Conservator is not following the orders of the court relating to the care of the Person.
Use the complaint form to file a complaint. 
 
Once the complaint is received, it will be reviewed to determine if an investigation is appropriate. If the complaint does not allege maltreatment by the Guardian or Conservator, or if the matter has already been addressed by the court, the complaint will be dismissed without investigation.
 
If an investigation is warranted, a copy of the complaint will be given to the Guardian or Conservator. The Guardian or Conservator is given 21 days to do a written response to the complaint. 
 
The Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) Examiner may contact the complainant (person submitting the complaint form) or any interested person to get more information. Please make sure that your current contact information (address, phone, and email) is listed in the complaint form. When the investigation is finished, a report will be provided for review by the district court.
 
The district court will review the report and decide if further action should be taken on the complaint. The CAAP Examiner does NOT have authority to remove, sanction, or discipline a Guardian or Conservator.
 
At any time following the submission of a complaint, a copy of the complaint or other documentation (for example, the written response of the Guardian or Conservator), may be provided to the court for immediate review and court action, if needed.    
 
Please send completed form: OR
  • by mail to:
         Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) Examiner
         Minnesota Judicial Center
         25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
         St. Paul, MN 55155 

You can get general help with the Guardianship and Conservatorship Complaint Process by calling (651) 215-0032 or by emailing SCAOExaminer@courts.state.mn.us.
 

The complaint process work was supported, in part, by grant number 90EJIG0019-01-01 Elder Justice Innovation Grants awarded in 2021 for improving guardianship from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official ACL or DHHS policy. 

The Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) and the Conservator Account Review Program (CARP) programs ensure that all conservator-managed financial accounts in the state are reviewed by trained financial experts and that district court judges have more tools and information when hearing conservatorship cases.

MyMNConservator (MMC) Help Line:  (763) 347-4437
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 persons subject to conservatorship 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, subsequent accounts above $10,000 at regular intervals and any other accounts referred for audit. Subsequent accounts $10,000 and below are reviewed by the Conservator Account Review Program (CARP).

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 via email requesting supporting documentation. We strongly recommend electronically submitting documents (via email, fax, or uploading records to your annual report in MMC). However, if originals are provided, this documentation will be returned once the audit is complete. For additional information please refer to the Audit Tip Sheet.
 
CARP provides regular review of accounts not subject to CAAP audits and provides public hearing preparation documents to district courts. CARP reviews accounts under $10,000 and older than one year, and larger conservator accounts in-between those accounts’ fourth-year audits that are conducted by CAAP. 
 
CARP findings are presented to the parties and district judge for review. CARP reviews include a public Account Review Report summarizing the findings of a review.
Respond promptly to requests or questions from the Court, CAAP or CARP personnel.

Please provide all documentation listed in the audit letter. If any of the information does not apply, please state that in your response to the audit. We strongly recommend electronically submitting documents (via email, fax, or uploading records to your annual report in MMC).

 

Talk to the Auditor

If you have questions, contact the auditor. Keeping an open line of communication with the auditor will help expedite your audit.
 

What to include

  • Conservators must provide official bank statements. Spreadsheets and online transaction printouts are not sufficient for audit purposes. Online statements are okay if they include all transactions, running balance totals, and all account ownership information.
  • Be sure to include documentation for all asset account types, including CD’s, life insurance, IRA’s, other investments, prepaid burials, etc.
  • You must provide cancelled (cleared) checks from the bank. Check copies provided with the statement are acceptable in the event your bank does not return physical checks. Duplicate check copies are not an acceptable replacement.

Arranging Documents

  • Arrange all bank statements together by account in date order. Verify that you are sending all statements for the entire annual account period. Do not omit any statements. All pages must be provided for each statement, regardless of the page content.
  • If a credit card is being used, all monthly statements must be provided as well as invoices and/or receipts for each individual transaction made using the credit card. Arrange these statements in date order as instructed above.

Expenses

  • Retain and provide documentation, including receipts and invoices, to support all expenses paid from the conservatorship.
  • Supporting documentation must be provided to support all Guardian and Conservator fees paid. These fees should be paid on a consistent basis and statements must include, but are not limited to, the following items:
    • Dates of Service
    • Hourly Rate
    • Detailed Descriptions of Tasks Performed per Date
    • Hours per Task

Property Sales

If real estate is sold during the account period, provide the HUD settlement statement.
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 Administration 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.
 

Printable Tip Sheet »

Respond right away to requests from the Court, Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP)  or Conservator Account Review Program (CARP) personnel for your supporting paperwork or documentation or if they have questions about your account.

Getting Started

Do a full search for assets to make sure your inventory is complete. Make sure that all items are accurately valued as close to the date of appointment as possible. Include jointly held assets. Most banks or financial institutions will require a certified copy of your Letters of Conservatorship before giving you information about accounts. You can get certified copies for a fee from the court where your case is filed. If you have a prepaid burial account, upload a copy of the account statement in MyMNConservator (MMC).

Open separate financial account(s) naming the conservator(s) and the person subject to conservatorship but giving the conservator(s) control of the account. Make sure the bank or institution you choose will provide you with canceled checks that you can either print from the internet or they will send you. Conservators of spouses should open a separate conservatorship account and consider setting up a regular monthly support payment to cover joint expenses if appropriate.
  • File state and federal individual income taxes for the person subject to conservatorship if they meet the filing requirements.
  • File for property tax refunds for the person subject to conservatorship if they qualify.
  • Get court approval before taking action as required by Minn. Stat. § 524.5 -411 and Minn. Stat. § 524.5-418
    • Examples: Sell or mortgage real estate, create a trust, make or change a will, change beneficiaries on accounts or policies – see statutes for complete lists.
  • Be aware that advanced expense reimbursement may be subject to court review and approval.
The conservator should provide proof of funds with the report, such as all relevant bank statements or financial (brokerage, investment, etc.) statements for the financial accounts. These statements must be uploaded to MMC. Co-conservators should agree on one conservator to be responsible to enter information into MMC.

Enter the information into MMC on a regular basis (such as once a month) and only include transactions that appear on the financial statements. Submit the report in MMC only once each year. The information is saved until you are ready to submit. Carefully preview the report and have any co-conservators approve the report before submitting. Information cannot be changed after it is submitted.
  • Do not mix your assets with those of the person subject to conservatorship, even temporarily.
  • Do not include assets within your accounting that are outside your control as conservator (Examples: Assets controlled by a trustee, assets excluded from the conservator’s control in the appointment order i.e. a Limited Conservatorship).
  • Do not sell, give away, or dispose of personal property without giving notice to interested persons as required by Minn. Sat. § 524.5-313(c) (3).
  • Do not borrow from the assets of the person subject to conservatorship for your own or anyone else’s benefit.
  • Do not reflect entries by one total for a category. Each individual deposit and expense should be recorded in MMC.
  • Unless approved by the court, do not continue to spend/dispose of assets if the person subject to conservatorship dies. Your authority terminates upon the date of death.
  • Figure out the monthly living expenses of the person subject to conservatorship and make a monthly budget. The budget should let the person subject to conservatorship maintain his/her lifestyle, if affordable. 
  • Keep all receipts, canceled checks, statements of accounts received, etc. It is best if you keep them in date or category order as entered in MMC.
Inventory– within 60 days of the date your Letters of Conservatorship were issued.

Annual Account– within 60 days of your period ending date (annually on the anniversary date of the issuance of your Letters of Conservatorship).
If the person subject to conservatorship is able to handle spending money, a small monthly/weekly “allowance” is generally okay. Remember that it will have to be shown that the allowance money was used only by that person.
If the person subject to conservatorship receives funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you may be required to obtain two separate bonds. Conservators may petition the court to lower the bond to the court to offset premium fees.

Conservator Help Line

(763) 347-4437

IMPORTANT!
New laws went into effect on August 1, 2020 for guardianship and conservatorship cases. The new laws change some of the words and processes. For example, the word “ward” has been changed to “person subject to guardianship” and “protected person” has been changed to “person subject to conservatorship.”

The MN Judicial Branch is in the process of updating the Online Conservatorship & Guardianship Training and Guardianship/Conservatorship Video listed below. We are making these resources available to you in their current form while working to update them because they have very helpful information, even if some of the words and procedures do not match the new laws.


Online Conservatorship & Guardianship Training »

The Minnesota Judicial Branch has launched an online training for individuals who have been appointed by a court to serve as a guardian or conservator.

The interactive, self-paced training module aims to help new guardians and conservators understand their roles and responsibilities, including the statutes and policies in place to protect vulnerable individuals. The training may also be used as a refresher course by experienced guardians or conservators, or to answer specific questions about their duties.
 

A 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.
 

Guardianship/Conservatorship Video »

MyMNConservator Help Videos and Tutorials »

Conservator Video Services (National Center for State Courts)

  • NOTE: This video series was created by the National Center for State Courts.  It is a general overview of a conservatorship.  There are specific requirements for a conservatorship in MN.