FAQ on Termination of Guardianship in Minnesota

termination guardianshipWhat is the statute governing restoration to capacity in Minnesota?  Minnesota Statute 524.5-317

Once a guardianship is established, is it forever?  Or can it be terminated?  A guardianship does not always last forever.  Although many times with elderly individuals who have progressive diseases, they do last for the duration of the individual’s life, there are circumstances where guardianships don’t last forever.  For example, when a person is injured in a car accident but eventually recovers sufficiently to direct his/her own activities, a guardianship may no longer be necessary.  Sometimes a person will have a stroke that is dibilitating, but then gradually recover.  Sometimes a person will be put under guardianship because of mental illness, but when medication is regularly taken, the need for a guardianship may end.

Who may ask the court to end a guardianship? Anyone interested in the ward’s welfare may petition the court to end the guardianship.  This would mean the ward him/her self, a family member, a social worker, a doctor, even the current guardian.

How do you terminate a guardianship?  A petition is filed with the court and a hearing date is set.  Notice of the hearing must be given to the interested persons (as defined by Minnesota statute).  At the hearing, testimony will be taken and evidence presented in order to establish that the ward no longer needs a guardian.  Typically this will be done through testimony from the ward him/her self, testimony of others who have the opportunity to interact with and observe the ward (including the guardian), and physician support (testimony or a written statement).

What is the standard to terminate a guardianship?  In order to terminate a guardianship, it must be established by prima facie evidence that a guardianship is no longer necessary, because the ward no longer needs the assistance or protection of a guardian.  If this is established, the burden then shifts to anyone opposing the guardianship to prove that it is in the best interest of the ward to keep the guardianship in place.

When can someone petition to terminate a guardianship? Any time.  You don’t have to wait until the annual notice of right to petition for restoration is served upon the ward.  If the ward no longer needs a guardian at any point throughout the year, a petition may be filed.

If a petition to terminate a guardianship is denied, does that mean the guardianship is forever?  No, not necessarily.  If the person’s circumstances change (i.e. his medical condition improves, he is able to do activities of daily living on own, etc.), he may petition for restoration again.

Do you need physician support to end a guardianship?  Although the statute doesn’t technically require it, unless the ward is very clearly able to demonstrate to the court that he/she is able to function independently and make and communicate decisions which would keep him/her safe, provide for nutrition and understand own medical situation, the support of a physician is imperative.

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