The statute governing emergency guardianships in Minnesota is Minn. Stat. 524.5-311. It requires the court to make a finding that following the normal guardianship procedures (which would typically mean that the guardianship petition wouldn’t be heard for 4 – 6 weeks) would likely result in substantial harm to the health, safety or welfare of an individual.
So as a practical matter, what sorts of things constitute an emergency, which would support an emergency guardianship in Minnesota?
- An individual is refusing to follow medical advice about a necessary surgery
- An individual has stopped taking his medication, feeding himself properly and/or is otherwise putting himself at risk
- An individual is in a nursing home and needs that level of care but is now saying that he will check himself out of the nursing home
- An individual was in a car accident and is now hospitalized and in critical condition and unable to make medical decisions and does not have a health care directive in place
These are examples of some of the most common times that an emergency guardianship is appropriate. There can be many other cases where an emergency guardianship makes sense. The general rule of thumb: if someone is in danger of harm and can’t wait until the full guardianship hearing, file emergency guardianship papers.