GUIDING FAMILIES THROUGH THE SEASONS OF LIFE

Guardianship and Conservatorship Experience

Some of Cindi’s representative guardianship and conservatorship experience and most notable achievements include the following:

  • Conservatorship – Elderly woman falls prey to internet scam (contested, Sherburne County):
    • Client and background: Represented elderly woman whose adult children petitioned for conservatorship after the Client lost a significant amount of money to an internet scam.
    • Strategy: Try to negotiate with the petitioning children and then proceed to a contested hearing if necessary, in order to allow Client to maintain her independence and not have a conservatorship imposed.
    • Result:  After the adult children presented their case as to why Client needed a conservatorship, Cindi made a motion to dismiss their petition on the basis that they had not met their burden of showing Client was unable to manage her own finances. Judge granted Cindi’s motion to dismiss and the Client was able to continue managing her own finances without court supervision.
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship – Dad with Alzheimer’s being exploited by adult children (contested, Hennepin County):
    • Client and background: Represented daughter who petitioned for guardianship of elderly father suffering from Alzheimers Disease and was being exploited by his other daughters;
    • Strategy: Attempt to negotiate a resolution and then proceed to a contested hearing if necessary.
    • Result: A settlement was reached whereby the elderly father had a professional guardian and conservator in place, which protected him and also gave the daughter peace of mind that the exploitation could no longer occur.
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship – Mom who is frail and vulnerable being exploited by adult daughters (contested, Hennepin County):
    • Client and background:  Represented same daughter who petitioned one year later for guardianship of her mother, who was being exploited by other daughters;
    • Strategy: Attempt to negotiate a resolution and proceed to contested hearing if necessary.
    • Result: A settlement was reached whereby a protective order was entered that put in place a professional to assist the elderly mother with medical decision making and with finances, but was less restrictive than a full conservatorship, which gave the elderly mother some freedom and flexibility to make some of her own decisions.
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship – Elderly woman wants to preserve her right to make medical decisions and keep her estate planning intact (contested, Renville County):
    • Client and background: represented an 80 year old woman whose children petitioned for guardianship and conservatorship and at the same time initiated a civil action to undo a conveyance of 800 acres of farm land.
    • Strategy: Attempt mediation and then proceed to trial if necessary.
    • Result: After a contested hearing the Court ruled that my client did not need a guardian (she could still make her own medical decisions), but ruled that she did need a conservator appointed to help her manage her significant assets. The court also upheld the conveyance of real estate after 4 day trial.
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship – Elderly woman wants to retain her independence and estate planning (contested, St. Louis County):
    • Client and background: Represented an elderly woman whose children petitioned for guardianship and conservatorship allegedly based on dementia.
    • Strategy: Engage in discovery and proceed to trial if necessary.
    • Result: After engaging in significant discovery, including 5 days of depositions, the adult children dismissed their petition and the elderly woman was able to continue living independently and manage her own assets.
  • Guardianship – Adult son wants to stop his brother from exploiting elderly mother and restricting her visitors (contested, Mower County):
    • Client and background: Represented adult son who wanted to have his sibling removed as guardian of his mother, on the basis that the guardian/son was improperly restricting mom’s right to visitation with persons of her choosing and was  making inappropriate medical and living decisions for the ward.
    • Strategy: File a petition for removal of guardian with Court and proceed to a contested hearing
    • Result: The Court ordered the guardian removed and appointed a neutral professional guardian for mom, which allowed my client to resume visits with his mom.
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship – Adult son wants to prevent younger “caregiver” from exploiting his elderly father  (contested, Wright County):
    • Client and background: Represented adult son who was concerned because a 50 year old “caregiver” was trying to isolate and alienate his 90 year old father from family members , as well as write herself in to his father’s estate plan.
    • Strategy: Attempt negotiated settlement and then proceed to trial if necessary
    • Result: After a multi-day trial, the Court appointed a guardian and conservator for the elderly man.  The “caregiver” was subsequently prosecuted by the Attorney General for financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
  • Minor Guardianship – Aunt and Uncle want guardianship of their nephew, whose mom had died and who was being abused by another family member (contested, Wright County):
    • Client and background: Represented aunt and uncle of an 11 year old child, whose mother had died and who was being abused by his uncle, who was also petitioning for guardianship and opposing my clients’ petition.
    • Strategy: Proceed with a contested trial
    • Result:  After a contested hearing, the Court appointed my clients as guardian of their nephew.
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships: Represented professional guardians and conservators in many different cases, assisting with: annual accountings on MyMNConsevator, sale of real estate, disposal of personal property, petitioning the court for orders subsequent to clarify powers, petitioning the court for approval of gift transactions, petitioning the court to set aside transactions and providing other legal advice as needed.
  • Minor Conservatorships: Represented parents in dozens of cases petitioning to be conservator for their minor children who were left life insurance proceeds or received an inheritance.
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships: Court appointed to represent over 100 respondents in guardianship and/or conservatorship proceedings in Hennepin County, Sherburne County, Carver County and Wright County, ranging from emergency appointments, initial appointments, modification or termination petitions, petitions for medical procedures (hysterectomy), and real estate sale petitions.

Cindi A. Spence has been an attorney in Minnesota for 22+ years. Cindi has successfully represented conservatorship and guardianship clients throughout the entire state of Minnesota –  from Hallock to Austin and many cities in between.  She has tried countless cases in district courts throughout the State of Minnesota, to both judges and juries. She has successfully resolved hundreds of cases throughout her 22+ years of practicing law.  Cindi is passionate about helping elderly and disabled individuals get the help they need, while maximizing their independence.  She has achieved tremendous results for her clients, as indicated by the testimonials of many satisified clients.

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A blog about all things guardianship and conservatorship.