Venue in Guardianships and Conservatorships in Minnesota

Where should a Minnesota guardianship or conservatorship action be venued?

Venue is the place where a court action is filed (which District Court the action is filed in). In Minnesota, venue for guardianships and conservatorships is governed by Minn. Stat. 524.5-108. It provides, in pertinent part:

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(b) Venue for a guardianship proceeding for an incapacitated person is in the county of this state in which the respondent resides and, if the respondent has been admitted to an institution by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, in the county in which that court is located. Venue for the appointment of an emergency or a temporary guardian of an incapacitated person is also in the county in which the respondent is present.

(c) Venue for a protective proceeding is in the county of this state in which the respondent resides, whether or not a guardian has been appointed in another place or, if the respondent does not reside in this state, in any county of this state in which property of the respondent is located.

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(e) If it is in the best interest of the ward or protected person, the venue may be transferred to another county. Upon the filing of a petition by any interested person, or upon the court’s own motion, the court shall fix a time and place for the hearing on the transfer. Notice must be given to interested persons, the district court of the county to which venue is proposed to be transferred, and any other party the court designates. Upon proof that a transfer of venue is in the best interest of the ward or protected person or the ward or protected person’s estate, and upon settlement and allowance of the conservator’s accounts, if any, to the time of the hearing, the court shall transmit the entire file to the court of the other county, where all subsequent proceedings must be held.


So for guardianships or conservatorships, determine where the ward/protected person resides. This is where the case will be venued originally. If this is an emergency proceeding, it can either be venued in the county where the person resides OR in the county in which the person is present.
The venue can be changed, by motion or the court’s own initiative, if it is in the best interest of the ward or protected person. An example of when this would be appropriate would be if the action is originally filed in one county because the ward resides there, but during the course of the proceeding the ward moves to a different county.
As always, if you have specific questions about venue or guardianships and conservatorships in general, please contact experienced guardianship attorney Cindi Spence Matt at Matt Legal Services.



What Happens to a Conservatorship When the Protected Person Dies?

What happens when a protected person dies? Is the conservatorship proceeding automatically over? Does the conservator need to do anything else?


Minnesota Statute 524.5-431 addresses these questions. It provides, in pertinent part:

(a) A conservatorship terminates upon the death of the protected person or upon order of the court. Unless created for reasons other than that the protected person is a minor, a conservatorship created for a minor also terminates when the protected person attains majority or is emancipated.

(b) Upon the death of a protected person, the conservator shall conclude the administration of the estate by distribution of probate property to the personal representative of the protected person’s estate. The conservator shall distribute nonprobate property to the successor in interest. The conservator shall file a final report and petition for discharge no later than 30 days after distribution, and notice of hearing for allowance of said report shall be given to interested persons and to the personal representative of the protected person’s estate.


Therefore, what the conservator must do is: Distribute the protected person’s property to the appropriate person. Probate property goes to the personal representative (probate proceedings should be commenced by a family member or other appropriate person in order to get the PR appointed) and nonprobate property goes to the appropriate successor in interest. The conservator then prepares a final account/report and files it with the Court along with a Petition for Discharge. The Court then sets a hearing date on the Petition and the Conservator provides notice of the hearing to all Interested Persons. After the hearing the Court issues an Order discharging the Conservator.

If you have questions about this issues, or conservatorships in general, please contact experienced conservatorship attorney Cindi Spence Matt.



What Happens to A Guardianship When the Ward Dies?

What happens when a ward dies? Is the guardianship proceeding automatically over? Does the guardian need to do anything else?

Minnesota Statute 524.5-317 addresses these issues. It provides:

(a) A guardianship terminates upon the death of the ward or upon order of the court.

(b) On petition of any person interested in the ward’s welfare the court may terminate a guardianship if the ward no longer needs the assistance or protection of a guardian. The court may modify the type of appointment or powers granted to the guardian if the extent of protection or assistance previously granted is currently excessive or insufficient or the ward’s capacity to provide for support, care, education, health, and welfare has so changed as to warrant that action. The court may make any other order that is in the best interests of the ward or may grant other appropriate relief.

(c) Except as otherwise ordered by the court for good cause, the court, before terminating a guardianship, shall follow the same procedures to safeguard the rights of the ward as apply to a petition for guardianship. Upon presentation by the petitioner of evidence establishing a prima facie case for termination, the court shall order the termination and discharge the guardian unless it is proven that continuation of the guardianship is in the best interest of the ward.

Therefore, when the ward dies, if there is only a guardianship, the guardianship automatically terminates. However, it is obviously necessary to inform the Court of the same, so that the Court can document and close its file. Accordingly, the guardian should file a sworn/notarized Affidavit with the Court, stating that the ward has died, what date the ward died on, (perhaps) attaching a copy of the death certificate, and asking the court to issue any order the Court believes is necessary/appropriate (though technically, upon death of the ward, no order is necessary; if for some reason there was a bond in place – though it would be unusual in a guardianship – the Court should order the bond to be discharged) and asking the Court to close its file.
If there was also a conservatorship in place, additional steps need to be taken, as set forth in Minnesota Statute 524.5-431.
If you have specific questions about this or other guardianship issues, please contact experienced guardianship attorney Cindi Spence Matt.