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Guardianship / Conservatorship

Helping You Create Your Next Chapter

Minnesota Guardianship / Conservatorship Attorneys

Helping Twin Cities Families Come Together

Sometimes adults are not able to properly care for themselves and need another adult to assist them. These situations usually arise when a mentally incapacitated adult requires another person to make important financial or medical decisions on their behalf. However, a guardian or conservator may also help their ward with daily activities.

At Johnson/Turner Legal, we understand just how frustratingly opaque the guardianship and conservatorship processes in MN can be. Our team, consisting of a veteran Minnesota guardianship/conservatorship lawyer, two paralegals, and a life coach, can help you navigate your case.

To learn more or receive a consultation with our firm, contact us online or via phone at (320) 299-4249.

The General Process for Guardianship/Conservatorship

  • Conservatorship/guardianship is established through a legal action. An interested person can bring a legal action to be appointed a guardian of an incapacitated adult who is unable to make his or her own decisions.
  • If the Court determines through clear and convincing evidence that a person is, in fact, unable to make their own decisions, then it appoints a guardian/conservator as a substitute decision-maker.
  • After being appointed, a guardian and conservator has an ethical and legal obligation to act in the best interest of the incapacitated person.
  • Being appointed a guardian or a conservator is more than just making decisions on another person’s behalf. Each year a guardian/conservator must file status reports to the court regarding the incapacitated person’s ongoing incapacity and financial status.

What’s the Difference Between a Guardian and a Conservator?

Guardians and conservators play a different role in the lives of their charges:

  • A guardian looks after a ward and makes personal decisions on their behalf. For example, a guardian can decide where a ward should live, which school they should attend, what types of medical care they should receive, etc.
  • The court appoints guardians to wards who lack the capacity or understanding to care for themselves and make responsible decisions. While wards are frequently children, they may also be adults who meet these criteria.
  • A conservator looks after a protected person and makes financial decisions on their behalf. For example, a ward may help a protected person pay their bills, sell an estate, manage an investment account, or make plans for their financial future.
  • The court appoints conservators to protective persons who lack the ability to manage their financial affairs or estate.

While guardians and wards play similar roles in the lives of their charges, guardianships and conservatorships obviously require different skillsets. For example, just because a person can act as a guardian doesn’t necessarily mean they have the financial education to manage a diversified investment portfolio like a conservator.

Individuals who need a ward may not need a conservator, and vice versa. A medically incapacitated adult may need a ward to take care of them and protect their rights but might lack the assets to warrant a conservator. Similarly, somebody perfectly capable of caring for themselves may not need a ward, but might require a conservator to help them manage complex financial decisions.

What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?

In Minnesota, a guardian ad litem represents a child’s best interests in legal cases such as adoption, custody/visitation, child support, divorce, or emancipation.

Not all legal guardians are guardians “ad litem.” The difference between a guardian and a guardian ad litem is that a guardian ad litem is a child’s legal advocate in a specific legal action, while a legal guardian is a child’s advocate in all legal matters until the child is emancipated.

How Do I Become a Conservator or a Guardian?

If you wish to become a conservator or a guardian, you must file a guardianship or conservatorship appointment petition with the probate court that oversees the ward or protected person’s place of residence. You can learn more about the appointment process by following this link or speaking with a Minnesota guardianship/conservatorship attorney.

Once you file the appointment documents, the court will set a hearing date. You must have a third party serve the potential ward/protected person’s current caretaker with a notice of the case.

At the hearing, you will appear in court with the proposed ward or protected person and their caretaker. You will make your case to the court. This often involves showcasing documents such as a will and medical examination documents that back up your request to act as a guardian or conservator. The court will then decide whether to make you a guardian or conservator for the proposed ward/protected person.

What Do Guardians/Conservators Have to Do?

Guardians and conservators have different requirements. Within two months of appointment, the conservator must file an inventory of the protected person’s assets. They must also file additional court orders before selling or utilizing those assets. It’s the conservator’s responsibility to pay for the support, maintenance, and education of their protected person.

On the other hand, the guardian must care for their ward’s wellbeing and possessions. The guardian must also file an annual report on the ward’s status, containing medical, physical, and social evaluations of the ward.

What’s Expected of Guardians and Conservators?

The duties and rights afforded to guardians and conservators are complex. At Johnson/Turner Legal, our Minnesota guardianship/conservatorship attorneys can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a guardian or conservator more thoroughly.

We know that for many clients, legal fees are a concern. We use a flat-fee pricing model, so you know up-front how much our services will cost. At Johnson/Turner Legal, you pay for our services, not our time.

To learn more about how we help prospective guardians and conservators fight for their rights and protect their best interests in and out of court, contact us online or via phone at (320) 299-4249.


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Our employees are the key to the success of our clients, and ultimately of the firm. We strive to create a culture that instills a sense of belonging. We want to provide our employees with a safety net, which empowers them to take risks and make leaps, while knowing that others will support, assist and, if need be, catch them. Maintaining a firm culture of shared vision, open communication, positive work environment and friendships will foster a cohesive team of professionals working together to champion the successes of our clients, our community partners, and the firm.


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We strive to ensure that our attorneys and staff are fully versed in their practice areas to provide our clients the best advice and representation. The knowledge necessary to do so includes not only mastering the letter of the law, but also understanding trends in the interpretation and application of the law. We are life long learners who know there will never come a day when we have all the answers. We nurture and rely on our strong network of relationships within the firm and beyond. We study; we reflect; we converse; and we challenge one another. Our depth of knowledge sets us apart.


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Reach Our Team

Call (320) 299-4249 or fill out the form below to get your questions answered.