Clients often ask me what they can expect at the court hearing on the petition for guardianship and conservatorship. Caveat – this applies to uncontested hearings. Contested hearings are completely different – and are typically like a trial where the rules of evidence apply. Even with uncontested hearings, there is a caveat. And that is that each county and indeed, each judge, does things differently. But in general, for an uncontested hearing on a petition for guardianship and/or conservatorship, you can expect the following:
- Once your case is called the hearing itself is very short. Typically less than 10 minutes.
- The petitioner and the respondent (person for whom guardianship is being sought) and their attorneys are present.
- Testimony is taken from the Petitioner to “prove up” the guardianship petition. This is usually a series of leading questions that establish the contents of the petition – including who the parties are and why a guardianship and/or conservatorship is necessary.
- The Physician’s Statement (if there is one) and the Court Visitor’s report are made part of the record
- The Court asks the Respondent’s attorney for the Respondent’s position on the matter. Typically the Respondent’s attorney will give a statement about the contact that was made with the Respondent, the preferences the Respondent expressed and any other due diligence that the attorney did to ensure that guardianship is necessary and appropriate.
- The Court will then order guardianship/conservatorship and sign the Order and Letters. There is sometimes a delay with signing these if the background study is not back, or if bond needs to be put in place (for conservatorships).
If you have specific questions about guardianship and conservatorship court in Minnesota, please feel free to reach out to me.
What happens when a child that is under the age of 18 inherits money, either through an estate or directly as a named beneficiary on a life insurance policy or account? Typically, the minor is required to have a conservator appointed to accept and manage the inheritance. Parents of the minor are usually surprised to learn that this is necessary and that they can’t just receive and manage the money on the minor’s behalf, since they are the parents. The process of having a conservator appointed for a minor who is named to receive an inheritance is usually uncontested. However, because of the procedural requirements that must be followed in order to have a conservator appointed, many people find it necessary and useful to have an attorney represent them. If you choose not to have an attorney, the Court will still hold you to all of the Court rules and require that the statutes be followed. Time and again I have seen well meaning parents attempt the paperwork on their own, only to have the process delayed because they didn’t follow all of the Court rules to establish a conservatorship for their minor child. If you have questions about the process to establish a minor conservatorship, please reach out to Cindi Spence at Spence Legal Services (763) 682-2247.
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 does it take to get guardianship over someone in Minnesota?
The answer is that it depends. It depends on what county the case is in (typically where the individual resides). It depends on whether the matter will be contested or uncontested. It depends on whether you are filing for an emergency or general guardianship. It depends on the court’s calendar (when a judge is available to hear the case).
In general, if the matter is uncontested and it is a general guardianship (as opposed to an emergency), it takes between 4 – 6 weeks. (But, again, it depends on the county and the court’s calendar).
If the matter is contested it can take many months before the guardianship is established.
If it’s an emergency, the matter is typically decided (or at least set for hearing) within a week of filing the guardianship petition.
Because there are so many variables, you should consult with an attorney about the specific facts of your situation.