Who has statutory priority to be a guardian or conservator in Minnesota?

What if more than one person petitions the court to be guardian and/or conservator for a ward in Minnesota?    Does one person have priority over another?  How does the Court decide who should be guardian?

Minnesota Statute 524.5-309 (for guardians) and Minnesota Statute 524.5-413 (for conservators) provide guidance on these questions and sets forth the statutory priority scheme.  They  provides that, as long as a person is otherwise qualified to serve as guardian or conservator, there is priority in the following order:

  • a current guardian or conservator (other than emergency or temporary guardian)
  • a person named under a current health care directive (as long as there are no restrictions contained therein) or durable power of attorney
  • a spouse or the written nominee of a deceased spouse
  • an adult child
  • a parent or the written nominee of a deceased parent
  • an adult who has lived with the proposed ward for at least six months before the filing of the petition
  • an adult who is related to the proposed ward by blood, adoption or marriage
  • any other adult or professional guardian.

So if you are low down on the priority scale (say for example, if you are a brother-in-law or a friend of the proposed ward and an adult child of the proposed ward wants to be guardian) does that mean you don’t have a chance of being appointed as guardian?  No.  Minn. Stat 524.5-309 and Minn. Stat. 524.5-413 require  the court to appoint the best qualified in that case.

What about if tow individuals with differing priority levels want to be guardian?  Does the court automatically pick the one with higher priority?  No.  Minn. Stat. 524.5-309 and Minn. Stat. 524.5-413 allow the court to appoint someone with lower (or no) priority, if the Court finds it is in the best interest of the Respondent.

If you have questions about priority for appointment as guardian or conservator in Minnesota, or any other guardianship questions, please contact experienced guardianship attorney Cindi Spence Matt at Matt Legal Services, LLC. 

Mickey Rooney Pleas With Senate to End Elder Abuse

On March 2, 2011, 90 year old entertainer Mickey Rooney testified before the Senate Committee on Aging, urging them to pass bills to end elder abuse.  Mr. Rooney alleges that he has been abused by his step son for years.  Mr. Rooney described being scared, disappointed, angry and overwhelmed.  He testified that he couldn’t believe it was happening to him.  He described being in control one minute and the next minute having lost control.  Mr. Rooney said that the abuse came out of no where.  At first it was small and he felt he could control it, but then ” it became something sinister”.  He testified that he knew his money had been taken and when he asked for information, he was yelled at and told he couldn’t have any, that it was none of his business.  Mr. Rooney said that eventually he was stripped of the ability to make even most basic decisions and that his “daily life became unbearable”.

His testimony is very emotional and powerful and can be viewed in it’s entirety on the Senate Special Committee’s webpage.