Can more than one person be guardian or conservator of an individual?
Yes. In Minnesota there is no limit on the number of people who can be guardian or conservator for an individual.
Why would co-guardians be necessary? In the case of a mentally disabled child, both parents will oftentimes want to be guardian. Sometimes an older parent will want to be guardian along with an older sibling of the ward, so that if the parent passes away a guardian will already be in place. Sometimes two siblings will want to be guardians for their elderly parent.
However, before the court appoints co-guardians or co-conservators, due consideration should be given to the particular situation and, importantly, the dynamic and relationship between the proposed co-guardians. It is imperative that they be able to communicate with each other and work well together, since they will need to jointly arrive a mutual decision on every aspect of the ward’s care. They should be prepared to demonstrate to the court how they will work together and how they propose resolving any differences of opinion that may arise.
Although it is possible to have more than 2 guardians or conservators, it is rare. The more guardians a person has, the greater the possibility that differences of opinion will arise.
If the court does appoint more than one guardian or conservator, it is important to remember that each guardian and conservator is individually accountable to the court for every decision that was made on the ward’s behalf. It won’t be acceptable to point to a co-guardian and say “she did it, not me”. So carefully consider your ability to work with a proposed co-guardian before agreeing to serve with someone else.
If you want more information on guardianships and conservatorships in Minnesota, please contact experienced guardianship attorney Cindi S. Matt at Matt Legal Services.