Yes! A person under guardianship in Minnesota has the right to an attorney in any court proceeding and for the purpose of petitioning the court. This right is set forth in the Bill of Rights of Ward and Protected Person, Minn. Stat. 524.5-120. In most counties, an attorney will be appointed from the outset for a Respondent, once a petition for guardianship has been filed. A respondent does have a right to hire his/her own private attorney (or one can be hired for him/her by the family). Once you are appointed as guardian, it’s your responsibility to make sure the ward or protected person has an attorney, if he or she wants one (or you think it’s necessary). If there are sufficient funds, a guardian can hire an attorney privately. If there are not sufficient funds (the ward is IFP -in forma pauperis), the court will appoint an attorney to represent the ward and the fees will be paid for by the county. Each county has different policies on how much an attorney for the ward is reimbursed.
FAQ Friday is a new part of this blog where Spence Legal Services will provide answers to frequently asked questions on guardianships and conservatorships in Minnesota. If you have a question that you would like answered for a future post, please submit it to Spence Legal via email (our contact information can be found on the “Contact Us” tab on this website).
FAQ: Does a person under guardianship in Minnesota retain any rights?
Yes. The rights that a person under guardianship or conservatorship in Minnesota retains are set forth in Minnesota Statute 524.5-120, which is known as “The Bill of Rights For Wards and Protected Persons”.
Unless restricted by Court Order, those rights include the right to:
- treatment with dignity and respect;
- 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;
- 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;
- exercise control of all aspects of life not delegated specifically by court order to the guardian or conservator;
- guardianship or conservatorship services individually suited to the ward or protected person’s conditions and needs;
- petition the court to prevent or initiate a change in abode;
- care, comfort, social and recreational needs, training, education, habilitation, and rehabilitation care and services, within available resources;
- be consulted concerning, and to decide to the extent possible, the reasonable care and disposition of the ward 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;
- personal privacy;
- communication and visitation with persons of the ward 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 health, safety, or well-being, that communication or visitation may be restricted but only to the extent necessary to prevent the harm;
- marry and procreate, unless court approval is required, and to consent or object to sterilization as provided in section 524.5-313, paragraph (c), clause (4), item (iv);
- petition the court for termination or modification of the guardianship or conservatorship or for other appropriate relief;
- be represented by an attorney in any proceeding or for the purpose of petitioning the court; and
- vote, unless restricted by the court.