What happens if a guardian decides the certain items of the ward’s must be sold or otherwise disposed of? For example, the guardian might decide that funds are needed for the ward’s care, so items must be sold. Or the guardian may decide that items are no longer used and are too expensive to maintain. For example, a vehicle that the ward doesn’t drive anymore, but that requires insurance. Can a guardian sell some of the ward’s personal property? Yes. Minn. Stat. 524.313(c)(3) sets forth the procedures that must be followed before disposing of personal property.
Minn. Stat. 524.5-313(c)(3) provides the guardian with “the duty to take reasonable care of the ward’s clothing, furniture, vehicles and other personal effects, and, if other property requires protection, the power to seek appointment of a conservator of the estate.”
If the guardian wants to dispose of items such as these, notice must be given to interested persons. The form Notice of Intent to Dispose of Clothing, Furniture or Other Personal Effects is found on the State Court website. It must be completed by the guardian and served on Interested Persons at least 10 days before the items are disposed of by the guardian. Interested Persons are those listed in Minn. Stat. 524.5-102, Subd. 7. The Interested Persons then have the 10 day period in which to serve the guardian, by mail or personal service, with an objection. If the guardian receives an objection and still wants to sell or dispose of the item, the guardian must first petition the court for approval of the proposed disposition.
Finally, the last thing to be aware of, before steps are taken to sell personal property, is that it is important for the Conservator to check the Protected Person’s Will and make sure the property being sold has not been specifically devised in the Will or revocable trust. If it is, then the item may still be sold, but the funds from the sale must be set aside and preserved for the intended beneficiary (or if necessary for the protected person’s care, those funds should be used last). See Minn. Stat. 524.2-606
For specifics regarding a guardian selling a ward’s personal property and the proper procedures to follow, see Minn. Stat. 524.5-313 or speak with an experienced Minnesota guardianship attorney.