New Guardianship/Conservatorship Educational Video Requirement in Hennepin County

Beginning on December 1, 2011, proposed guardians and/or conservators in the Fourth Judicial District (Hennepin County, MN), must view an educational video prior to the initial hearing. They will also be required to submit a modified version of the acceptance and oath, stating that they have viewed the video.

The purpose of the video is to educate proposed guardians and conservators on their duties prior to the initial hearing. The video has 7 segments, totaling 34 minutes in length. The segments are on the following topics: Introduction to Guardianship/Conservatorship; What Guardianship is Not; Less Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship and Conservatorship; Roles and Responsibilities of a Guardian; Roles and Responsibilities of a Conservator; Annual Reporting Requirements; Common Issues and Problems.

The full press release, detailing the new requirements, can be found on the Minnesota State Court website here.
The video itself, along with a link to the modified Oath and Acceptance form, can be found on the Hennepin County Probate Court website here.

Co-Guardians and Co-Conservators: Is it possible?

Can more than one person be guardian or conservator of an individual?

Yes. In Minnesota there is no limit on the number of people who can be guardian or conservator for an individual.
Why would co-guardians be necessary? In the case of a mentally disabled child, both parents will oftentimes want to be guardian. Sometimes an older parent will want to be guardian along with an older sibling of the ward, so that if the parent passes away a guardian will already be in place. Sometimes two siblings will want to be guardians for their elderly parent.
However, before the court appoints co-guardians or co-conservators, due consideration should be given to the particular situation and, importantly, the dynamic and relationship between the proposed co-guardians. It is imperative that they be able to communicate with each other and work well together, since they will need to jointly arrive a mutual decision on every aspect of the ward’s care. They should be prepared to demonstrate to the court how they will work together and how they propose resolving any differences of opinion that may arise.
Although it is possible to have more than 2 guardians or conservators, it is rare. The more guardians a person has, the greater the possibility that differences of opinion will arise.
If the court does appoint more than one guardian or conservator, it is important to remember that each guardian and conservator is individually accountable to the court for every decision that was made on the ward’s behalf. It won’t be acceptable to point to a co-guardian and say “she did it, not me”. So carefully consider your ability to work with a proposed co-guardian before agreeing to serve with someone else.
If you want more information on guardianships and conservatorships in Minnesota, please contact experienced guardianship attorney Cindi S. Matt at Matt Legal Services.

Annual Reports Required By Minnesota Guardians

What forms does a Guardian in Minnesota have to file annually?

A Guardian in Minnesota must file a Personal Well Being Report (Annual Report of Guardian) (required by Minn. Stat. 524.5-316) and an Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity or Other Relief (required by Minn. Stat. 524.5-310(g)) . These forms are available on the Minnesota State Court website, under Court Forms/Guardianship/Annual Forms.
These forms are due annually within 30 days of the anniversary of the appointment as Guardian. They must be: 1) Filed with the Court; 2) Served upon Interested Persons (as defined in the Guardianship statute); 3) Served upon the Ward. If an Interested Person does not want to receive these annual reports, he/she can notify the Court and Guardian in writing and opt out of service.
The purpose of the Personal Well Being Report is to notify the Court of what has happened to the Ward within the past year. The Court reads the reports and if anything seems out of ordinary, the Court could set it for hearing or further inquire of the Ward.
The purpose of the Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity is to remind the ward (and Interested Persons) of the statutory options/rights that the ward could pursue if he/she believes that a guardianship is no longer necessary or appropriate (or if the ward wants other relief).
If you have questions about the Annual Reports required to be filed by Guardians in Minnesota, or other guardianship or conservatorship questions, please contact experienced Minnesota Guardianship Attorney Cindi Matt at Matt Legal Services.