Minnesota Guardianships: The Role of the Court Appointed Attorney

When a guardianship petition is filed, the Court usually appoints an attorney to represent the Respondent (the person over whom guardianship and/or conservatorship is sought). The court appointed attorney is there to act as a legal advocate for the Respondent. The attorney will contact the Respondent and meet with him to discuss the guardianship proceedings. The attorney will explain the proceedings, explain the options that the Respondent has in the guardianship proceeding (typically to agree to the guardianship, or to object to the guardianship and proceed to a contested hearing), explain the rights that the Respondent would retain if guardianship is granted, and answer any questions the Respondent has about the process and his rights. The attorney also reviews the paperwork that has been filed and makes sure that the statutory requirements are met. The court appointed attorney represents the Respondent and cannot give legal advice to other parties in the case. At the hearing, the attorney will advocate for the position that the Respondent wants to take in the proceeding.