When a guardianship petition is filed in Minnesota, someone called a “Court Visitor” is typically appointed by the Court. The role of the Court Visitor is to serve the petition on the Respondent (the person over whom guardianship is sought) and to report to the Court about the visit. The Court Visitor will usually call the Respondent at the number in the Petition and arrange a visit to the Respondent’s home.
The statute governing the details of the Court Visitor’s work is set forth in Minn. Stat. 524.5-304. It provides, in pertinent part:
(a) Upon receipt of a petition to establish a guardianship, the court shall set a date and time for hearing the petition and may appoint a visitor. The duties and reporting requirements of the visitor are limited to the relief requested in the petition.
(d) The visitor shall personally serve the notice and petition upon the respondent and shall offer to read the notice and petition to the respondent, and if so requested the visitor shall read the notice and petition to such person. The visitor shall also interview the respondent in person, and to the extent that the respondent is able to understand:
(1) explain to the respondent the substance of the petition; the nature, purpose, and effect of the proceeding; the respondent’s rights at the hearing; and the general powers and duties of a guardian;
(2) determine the respondent’s views about the proposed guardian, the proposed guardian’s powers and duties, and the scope and duration of the proposed guardianship;
(3) inform the respondent of the right to employ and consult with a lawyer at the respondent’s own expense and the right to request a court-appointed lawyer; and
(4) inform the respondent that all costs and expenses of the proceeding, including respondent’s attorneys fees, will be paid from the respondent’s estate.
(e) In addition to the duties in paragraph (d), the visitor shall make any other investigation the court directs.
(f) The visitor shall promptly file a report in writing with the court, which must include:
(1) recommendations regarding the appropriateness of guardianship, including whether less restrictive means of intervention are available, the type of guardianship, and, if a limited guardianship, the powers to be granted to the limited guardian;
(2) a statement as to whether the respondent approves or disapproves of the proposed guardian, and the powers and duties proposed or the scope of the guardianship; and
(3) any other matters the court directs.