FAQ Friday: How Long Does An Emergency Guardianship Last in Minnesota?


FAQ Friday is a new part of this blog where Spence Legal Services will provide answers to frequently asked questions on guardianships and conservatorships in Minnesota.  If you have a question that you would like answered for a future post, please submit it to Spence Legal via email (our contact information can be found on the “Contact Us” tab on this website)

FAQ:  How long can an emergency guardianship last in Minnesota?

An emergency guardian may be appointed for 60 days, unless the County was the petitioner, in which case an emergency guardian may be appointed for 90 days.  See Minn. Stat. 524.5-311.


Do You Need an Emergency Guardianship?


The statute governing emergency guardianships in Minnesota is Minn. Stat. 524.5-311.  It requires the court to make a finding that following the  normal guardianship procedures (which would typically mean that the guardianship petition wouldn’t be heard for 4 – 6 weeks) would likely result in substantial harm to the health, safety or welfare of an individual.

So as a practical matter, what sorts of things constitute an emergency, which would support an emergency guardianship in Minnesota?

  • An individual is refusing to follow medical advice about a necessary surgery
  • An individual has stopped taking his medication, feeding himself properly and/or is otherwise putting himself at risk
  • An individual is in a nursing home and needs that level of care but is now saying that he will check himself out of the nursing home
  • An individual was in a car accident and is now hospitalized and in critical condition and unable to make medical decisions and does not have a health care directive in place

These are examples of some of the most common times that an emergency guardianship is appropriate.  There can be many other cases where an emergency guardianship makes sense.  The general rule of thumb:  if someone is in danger of harm and can’t wait until the full guardianship hearing, file emergency guardianship papers.