Minnesota Bill of Rights for Wards and Protected Persons

Recently, a 76 year old client suffering from Alzheimers Disease was asked by opposing counsel what he would do if the Court denied the petition to establish a guardianship and the elderly gentlemen could therefore leave the locked Alzheimers facility. My client responded, “Well, I would like to be able to walk outside and get the newspaper on my own. What I’m doing now, being locked up, isn’t living. It’s existing. I’m 76 years young. I want to be living, not just existing.”

Very insightful for someone suffering from fairly advanced Alzheimers. It got me thinking about the Minnesota Bill of Rights for Wards and Protected Persons. If you aren’t already familiar with it, and you practice law in this area, or have a loved one that is subject to a guardianship, or are a guardian yourself, then you should read it. And read it again. It’s important stuff. It boils down to this: just because a person has a guardianship or conservatorship imposed upon them by the Court, does not mean that the person gives up his or her basic human rights. They are still a person with feelings and desires and opinions. They deserve to live, not just exist.
So here you go, take these to heart:

524.5-120 MINNESOTA BILL OF RIGHTS FOR WARDS AND PROTECTED PERSONS.

The ward or protected person retains all rights not restricted by court order and these rights must be enforced by the court. These rights include the right to:


1) treatment with dignity and respect;

2) due consideration of current and previously stated personal desires, medical treatment preferences, religious beliefs, and other preferences and opinions in decisions made by the guardian or conservator;

3) receive timely and appropriate health care and medical treatment that does not violate known conscientious, religious or moral beliefs of the ward or protected person;

4) exercise control of all aspects of life not delegated specifically by court order to the guardian or conservator;

5) guardianship or conservatorship services individually suited to the ward’s or protected person’s conditions and needs;

6) petition the court to prevent or initiate a change in abode;

7) care, comfort, social and recreational needs, training, education, habilitation and rehabilitation care and services, within available resources;

8) be consulted concerning, and to decide to the extent possible, the reasonable care and disposition of the ward’s or protected person’s clothing, furniture, vehicles and other personal effects, to object to the disposition of personal property and effects, and to petition the court for a review of the guardian’s or conservator’s proposed disposition;

9) personal privacy;

10) communication and visitation with persons of the ward’s or protected person’s choice, provided that if the guardian has found that certain communication or visitation may result in harm to the ward’s or protected person’s health, safety, or well-being, that communication or visitation may be restricted but only to the extent necessary to prevent the harm;

11) marry and procreate, unless court approval is required, and to consent or object to sterilization as provided in section 524.5-313, para (c) clause (4), item (iv);

12) petition the court for termination or modification of the guardianship or conservatorship or for other appropriate relief;

13) be represented by an attorney in any proceeding or for the purpose of petitioning the court; and

14) vote, unless restricted by the Court


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