Berge: Admission of Emergency Room Report Not Prejudicial Error

medical-report-iconThe Minnesota Court of Appeals released an unpublished opinion on February 18, 2014 in the case of In re: Guardianship and Conseservatorship of Wallace Berge, A13-0585.

Berge held that the admission of an emergency room report in a guardianship trial was not prejudicial error, where there was ample other evidence to support the Court’s ultimate conclusion that a limited guardian and conservator was necessary.  Although, as the Court noted, the District Court would not have been able to make Findings of Fact as to Berge’s condition at the hospital emergency room without admitting the emergency room report, the Court went on to note that the emergency room report simply corroborated the other testimony that it had admitted and found credible concerning Berge’s condition that entire night (confirming the observations of an officer and a child of Berge’s).

Also of note is the Court’s analysis of whether less restrictive means were possible, in lieu of a guardianship.  The court relied upon testimony that Berge would likely not accept outside caregiver services because he had in the past refused them and because he was frugal.

My Minnesota Conservator launching April 15, 2014

My Minnesota Conservator is now scheduled to officially launch on April 15, 2014.  For details, see the announcement on the Minnesota Court website.

Of significance to current conservators:

  • CAMPER will be completely offline from February 24 – February 28.
  • After February 28th, CAMPER will be read only.  You will not be able to edit, print or submit accounts during this period (from February 28 – April 15).
  • Courts are being asked to extend deadlines for inventories and accounts based on this shut down period.  You need to contact your local court and secure an extension – they are not automatic.
  • When My Minnesota Conservator launches, you will need to create an account (you must have an email address to do so) and then create a “conversion inventory” with the numbers from the last accounting that you filed in CAMPER.
  • Video training will be available for My Minnesota Conservator on April 15, 2014.
If you have questions on CAMPER or My Minnesota Conservator, contact Spence Legal Services at (763) 682-2247.

Do I Need an Attorney in a Guardianship or Conservatorship Action in Minnesota?

One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive at my law office, Spence Legal Services, is:  “Do I need an attorney to get guardianship of my ________ (parent, son, daughter, spouse, etc.)?”  The answer is “It depends”.  On what?

  • Whether the person over whom you are trying to obtain guardianship “the Respondent”) is in agreement that a guardianship is necessary.  If he/she is contesting the action, you likely need an attorney.
  • Whether one of the other “Interested Persons” (i.e. a sibling, a child, a spouse) will be contesting the need for a guardianship or who the appropriate person to be guardian or conservator should be.  If someone is contesting it, you likely need an attorney.
  • Whether the Respondent has significant personal property or real estate.  If so, you will likely want an attorney because once you are appointed conservator, there are very specific procedures that must be followed in order to dispose of the assets.
  • How much time you have to spend on the paperwork.  While many of the forms that are necessary for initiating a guardianship are available on line, there are very specific notice requirements that must be followed and forms that must be filed in order for the guardianship to be considered by the court.  If you proceed without an attorney, you are still required to follow the rules of court.  If you fail to file the correct forms, or give the correct notice, there will be delays and you may not get the guardianship.  For this reason, many people choose to hire an experienced guardianship attorney.
To discuss whether you need an attorney to represent you in guardianship proceedings, please call Cindi Spence an experienced Minnesota Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorney,  at Spence Legal Services (763) 682-2247 for a free consultation.