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Guardianship/conservatorship help (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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A bill of rights for wards and protected persons will be in state statute.

That is just one of the provisions in a law that makes changes related to guardians and conservators.

Effective Aug. 1, 2009, the law addresses accountability and transparency in the system.

Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls), who sponsors the law with Sen. Mee Moua (DFL-St. Paul), said approximately 22,000 Minnesotans are under a guardianship or conservatorship, a number that is expected to increase.

The law does three primary things:

• establishes conflict-of-interest rules for attorneys that represent guardians and wards;

• puts more eyes on these transactions with an ombudsman being more involved, along with more interested persons; and

• creates the bill of rights to put many related issues in current law into one place.

Among the 14 listed rights that must be enforced by the court are treatment with dignity and respect; due consideration of personal desires, medical preferences and religious beliefs; personal privacy; and timely and appropriate health care “that does not violate known conscientious, religious, or moral beliefs of the ward or protected person.”

Other provisions in the law include:

• an adult related by blood, adoption or marriage is placed seventh on the list, and any other adult or a professional guardian is eighth on the list in order of who a court shall consider in appointing a guardian; and

• a guardian cannot revoke a health care directive of a ward or protected person without a court order.


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