Once a person is determined to be in need of a guardian, is that the end of the person’s freedom as they know it? Does the guardianship last forever? No. A guardianship can be terminated by restoration of the ward to capacity. Restoration means that all of the rights which had been removed from the ward pursuant to the court’s guardianship order are given back to the individual and the individual is no longer considered to be incapacitated.
How does a ward go about being restored to capacity? Like most things relating to the guardianship, a petition is filed, a hearing is held and the judge makes a decision.
Who petitions for restoration to capacity? Oftentimes it is the ward him or herself who decides to petition the Court because he or she is able to function on their own and is no longer in need of a guardian. But the petition can be filed by the guardian or any other interested person who believes the ward should be restored to capacity.
What paperwork must be filed for the hearing? The forms necessary for restoration are available on the Minnesota Court website here (under Restoration to Capacity Forms). You should, of course, consult the statute or an attorney to make sure that the proper notice is given to the appropriate persons.
Is the ward entitled to an attorney? Yes, just like in the initial petition to establish a guardianship, the ward is entitled to be represented by an attorney. If the ward can’t afford one of his or her own, the Court will appoint an attorney.
What happens at the hearing? At the hearing itself, evidence is given to show that the ward now has the functional ability to handle their personal care and/or manage property. The ward typically testifies about his or her day to day routine, and gives examples of how they are functionally able to do things on their own and why the guardian is no longer necessary. It is not necessary to show that the ward has gained total control of all functions. But evidence must show that the ward can now handle their own personal cares and/or manage property. If a person is able to provide for his/her own self care in spite of a mental impairment, restoration should be granted.
As with any guardianship issues, you should be sure to consult with a qualified attorney to determine whether restoration is appropriate in your particular situation and to be sure all procedures and statutes are followed correctly.