Minnesota Guardianships: The Role of the Judge

In order for a guardianship and/or conservatorship to be established in Minnesota, a Judge needs to listen to evidence and then issue an Order and Letters. The Order is the document that sets forth the factual and legal basis for finding that a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary. The Judge decides whether a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary by reviewing the documents that are submitted in advance of the hearing (usually the petition, sometimes medical documentation and a court visitor report), reviewing any documents that are submitted at the hearing, and listening to any testimony that is offered at the hearing. Based upon these documents and testimony, the Judge will decide whether the legal standard for establishing a guardianship and/or conservatorship has been met for the case. The Judge then incorporates the facts and law into the Order, which is issued in written form. The Judge also issues “Letters”, which provide the name of the guardian and/or conservator and the specific statutory authority that the guardian and/or conservator has in the particular case.