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Make Important Decisions For Loved Ones
Life gives us a steady stream of decisions we must make. Part of being an adult means having the authority and responsibility to make decisions for ourselves about health, finances and other important subjects. Much of our legal and political system is built on this principle.
However, many adults cannot make these decisions, due to injury or illness. In these cases, the law requires someone to take over that person’s authority and responsibility. The tools Minnesota courts use to transfer decision-making are known as conservatorship and guardianship.
The experienced attorneys at the Woodbury, Minnesota, office of Coodin & Overson, PLLP, help individuals and families manage guardianship and conservatorship with skill, knowledge and sensitivity. They have helped many clients with these and other issues in a way that streamlines decision-making and caregiving while respecting the individuality and dignity of everyone involved.
See the firm’s testimonials page to learn more about how it has helped clients.
Understanding Guardianship And Conservatorship
Under Minnesota law, when an adult is determined to be unable to make important personal decisions for himself or herself, the court may appoint another party to make these decisions. The result is a guardianship, in which a loved one or other trusted party can make decisions about medical care, living arrangements and other matters on behalf of the protected person, who is known as a ward. Often, the guardian is an adult child of the protected person. The court oversees this relationship and periodically reviews it in order to watch out for any possible abuse.
A conservatorship is a similar arrangement in which a trusted party makes financial decisions for the protected person. A conservator can pay the protected person’s bills, invest money and enter into contracts on the person’s behalf.
Guardians and conservators have legal duties to the protected person and to the court. They must file annual reports and fill out large amounts of paperwork. Minnesota law also provides a bill of rights for wards and protected persons, and courts take the rights of these people very seriously. It can be crucial for conservators and guardians to have help from a lawyer.
The stream of necessary decisions doesn’t stop once a person loses the ability to make them. It is important to have a plan in place for establishing guardianship and conservatorship before illness or injury makes them necessary. Many people come up with these plans at the same time they are developing an estate plan, though it is not necessary to combine the two.