Wards, whether they are under a guardianship or conservatorship have a specific set of rights that they are guaranteed by law. If you are about to enter a guardianship or conservatorship, it is imperative that you understand the rights guaranteed to wards in your state.
Note: the laws regarding guardianships and conservatorships vary by state. Always check with your state’s laws and contact an attorney if you need help. Also, every guardianship and conservatorship is unique and based on the powers granted by courts (for guardians) or the applicable trust (for conservators).
Some of the rights guaranteed to wards are generally:
- To be treated with dignity and respect
- Maintaining control over aspects of life not delegated specifically to guardians or conservators
- To petition the court to change the current abode
- The right to personal privacy
- To vote (if not restricted by the courts)
- To be represented by an attorney
- To marry and procreate (may need approval by the court)
- Receive timely and appropriate healthcare
Learn more about the rights of wards in Minnesota by reading the full Bill of Rights for Wards and Protected Persons on the MAGIC (Minnesota Association for Guardianship and Conservatorship) website.
Creating a Will
If the ward is deemed to have an acceptable level of capacity, he or she may also create a will even if they are a protected person in a guardianship.
Annual Notice of Rights
All guardians in Minnesota (and in many other states) are required to present an Annual Notice of Rights to their ward once every year. This notifies protected person of their rights under the agreement as well as their right to modify the agreement through the courts. The Annual Notice of Rights is one of three documents guardians must file every year.
While wards and protected persons are awarded these rights by the state, there is no guaranteeing that the person or entity acting as the guardian or conservator will follow through with them. Nor is it guaranteed they will act in the best interests of the protected person. That is why surety bonds are generally required for guardianships and conservatorships. Surety bonds protect wards by proving a means of recompense should the terms of a guardianship or conservatorship not be met or if fraud, abuse or mismanagement of funds takes place.
Some guardians also require a conservatorship to manage the assets of the protected person, as well. You will usually need a bond for this conservatorship, as required by the courts in your state. Contact The Patrick J. Thomas Agency today to learn more about bonds for conservators and guardians in your state.
Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.