Is a guardianship forever?

I represent a lot of people who are put under guardianship and one of the things that I always talk about with them is that a guardianship does NOT always last forever.  This is particularly true in the case of young adults, who are put under guardianship when they turn 18 because of disabilities like ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Anxiety Disorder.* With any individual, but particularly with “children” when they turn 18, they simply need more time, more transitional schooling, more life experience, before they are able to function in society without a guardian.

How is a guardianship ended in Minnesota?  By convincing the Court that a person is no longer in need of the assistance or protection of a guardian.  The court will have a hearing to determine whether a guardianship should be terminated.  At the hearing, evidence is presented to show that the individual is now able to make and communicate his/her own responsible decisions regarding medical care, shelter, nutrition, clothing and safety.  Although statute doesn’t technically require it, it is usually very helpful to have a Physician’s Statement that there is no longer a continuing need for a guardian.  Once a prima facie case is established that a guardian is no longer needed, if no one comes forward objecting to the termination and showing that in fact guardianship is still needed, then the Court must terminate the guardianship.  The statute that governs termination of guardianships is Minn. Stat. 524.5-317.  During this process the Ward (person under guardianship) is entitled to have an attorney represent him/her.

 

 

* (This list is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive).

Termination of Minnesota Guardianship When Ward Dies

UK Death certificate, certificates, with last will and testament

What do you do when the Ward (the person for whom you are serving as Guardian) dies?  Do you need to notify the Court?  Do you need to file any papers with the Court?

YES – you need to notify the Court and file papers.  Minnesota Statute 524.5-317 addresses termination of a guardianship due to the ward’s death.  The document that you file, in Minnesota Guardianships, is a Petition For Termination of Guardianship and Discharge of Guardian.  A copy of the death certificate must accompany the Petition (Note:  Since it has a social security number on it, you must file it as confidential).  You should also submit a proposed Order Terminating Guardianship and Discharging Guardian.  If everything is in order, the Court typically signs the Order without requiring Notice and a hearing.

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