You might have a loved one who can no longer make their own legal or financial decisions. Or, maybe a friend passed away unexpectedly and their child needs a caregiver. Whether they are a minor or adult, they will need someone to look after them and ensure their needs are met. The process of becoming a legal guardian is complex and demanding, but the individual is worth it. Before going to court, it is helpful to understand the basics of legal guardianship.
A guardian is a person granted the legal right to make decisions for someone else. This person, known as a ward, cannot effectively make decisions on their own. A ward might be a teenager, under the age of 18, or a disabled adult.
To become a guardian in Minnesota, you must be 18 years or older. The court will do a background check and look into your personal character. The process is very thorough to ensure the guardianship is right for the ward. If the person seeking guardianship has already raised the individual in a family home, they will not have to go through a background check.
The state governs guardian rights
As a guardian, you help the individual make personal decisions. You are, although, unable to have a say in most financial decisions. There are typical choices a guardian usually assists with, which includes:
- Where the ward lives
- Consent to medical treatment
- The ward's daily activities
The court tailors your rights and responsibilities to the needs of the individual you watch over. Overall, you are tasked with supervising the individual on a day-to-day basis. Their well-being is your main concern, so you provide food, shelter and clothing. Additionally, you want to make sure they are healthy physically and mentally. Your ward might have personal property. It is your duty to make sure the property is properly cared for, as well.
If you have minor children, designating caregivers in your estate plan is a wise move.