If an adult is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make sound decisions for themselves, Minnesota courts may appoint a guardian. The guardian makes personal decisions on behalf of the other person and works to protect their interests and safety.
While Minnesota law says that “any competent person” may be appointed as the guardian for an adult deemed in need of one, it’s not that simple. Courts will consider a variety of factors in determining if someone should be appointed as a legal guardian for another adult.
If you’re concerned about the well-being of a loved one and are seeking to become their guardian, working with an attorney experienced in guardianship matters may increase your chances at a successful outcome. Keep reading to find out more about who can be the guardian of an adult in Minnesota.
What Are the Requirements to Be a Guardian of an Adult in Minnesota?
The court is the ultimate decision-maker for who can be the guardian of an adult, and the specifics can vary in any given case. Ultimately, the main factor the court considers is: what is in the best interests of the person who needs the guardianship? That person’s interests are held above the interests of loved ones.
People who can be the guardian of an adult in the state include:
- Adult children or parents of the person
- The person’s spouse
- Someone who has lived with the person for at least six months
- Professional guardians
- Anyone other adult the court deems suitable
Some things the court may consider in determining whether a person is a suitable guardian include:
- The potential ward’s wishes. The court will consider the preferences of the person in need of a guardian if they are found to have sufficient ability to express a preference.
- The interests of the proposed guardian. The court generally wants to see that a potential guardian has a vested interest in protecting the rights, safety, and best interests of the ward.
- The relationship between the two people. The court may consider whether the two people in question have spent time together and how well they know each other, though relationship is not a hard requirement for guardianship.
- Ability to pass background checks. In some cases, the court may require a criminal background check. This requires payment of background check and fingerprinting fees.
Can Professionals Be Guardians of Adults in Minnesota?
Yes, professionals who are paid for the guardianship service can be appointed as a guardian. However, Minnesota laws do provide some limitations to help reduce issues such as conflict of interest.
For example, any licensed service provider cannot provide the service related to their license for pay to the same person they act as guardian for. For example, a doctor cannot be a guardian for a patient. A CPA can’t be the official accountant for a person and also their guardian, and a lawyer can’t represent someone in legal matters and also be their guardian. The exception to this is if the two people are related by blood.
When considering a professional guardian, the court may investigate the relationship the person has to the potential ward and whether there are transactional service exchanges that could create a conflict of interest.
Can You Be a Guardian if You Don’t Live With or Near the Other Person
Yes, you can be named as a guardian for someone without living with them. In fact, it’s possible for someone to be named as a guardian for another adult even if they don’t reside in the same state.
When considering whether someone is a proper guardian for another person, the court only looks at whether that person can act appropriately in the best interests of the ward. In a case where someone may need financial and other help but not need decisions made for daily care (such as getting up, getting dressed, or choosing appropriate meals), a guardian outside of the home may be considered.
Appointing Two or More Guardians
There isn’t a limit to how many guardians can be appointed for a person, and courts may look at co-guardian situations where it meets the best interests of the person.
For example, someone who lives outside of the person’s hometown might be appointed guardian alongside someone that lives next door. These two people can work together to provide for daily needs as well as make larger financial or care decisions. Courts might also appoint a family member guardian who can care emotionally for a person alongside a professional guardian who may be more experienced in dealing with care or money decisions.
Get Help Seeking Guardianship Status
As you can see, a lot of thought goes into Minnesota guardianships. If you feel a loved one in your life would benefit from a guardian and that you’re the right person for that responsibility, consider consulting with a Minnesota guardianship and conservatorship attorney. The team at Stone Arch Law Office can help you understand what your options are and what you might have to do to seek guardianship status.