One of the major changes over the past few years regarding Minnesota guardianships and Minnesota conservatorships has been an increase in frequency of background checks required by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS now requires these “Background Studies” to be completed by conservators and guardians every two years instead of every five years.
Background Study Requirements for Conservators and Guardians
According to Minnesota Statutes, section 524.5‐118, all guardians and conservators are required to undergo a background study for the purpose of assisting the court in determining whether their appointment or continued appointment is in the best interests of the protected person.
According to the courts, this background check will:
- Review any criminal records of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) that apply to you.
- Review records of substantiated maltreatment of vulnerable adults or minors held by DHS that apply to you.
- Determine if you have ever held a professional license directly related to the responsibilities of a professional fiduciary in Minnesota or in any other state you have resided in the past ten years.
- Determine if you have resided (including wintering) in any state other than Minnesota in the previous ten years. This includes a search of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) national criminal records repository.
- Determine if the BCA information indicates that you are a multistate offender, or if your offender status is undetermined or blank.
You can see more information on this background check by viewing the court form for becoming a conservator or guardian here.
What Happens During the Background Check Process?
The DHS will search multiple national and statewide databases to find the information they are looking for. Before conducting the search, you, as the guardian or conservator that is to be appointed, will need to fill out a form consenting to the background search being performed. This generally takes place before you are appointed.
There is a fee for processing this check, which must be paid by you. If you are a conservator on the estate, the estate can pay the fee for you. You can also petition the county probate court that is hearing the case to pay the fee. Note that this fee will change based on how long you have lived in the state of Minnesota.
Everything Else You Need to Know About Minnesota Guardian and Conservator Background Checks
- Fingerprints may be required if you have lived in a state other than Minnesota for any period of time during the last ten years or if they find that you have a multistate offender status, or if your offender status is not determined or blank.
- You have the right to be informed that the background study will be conducted. You also have the right to be informed of the results of the study and to challenge the accuracy and completeness of information obtained.
- The results will be sent to the county probate court. You will not receive the results, but you can contact the court to receive a copy.
If you have any other questions, or need more information on Minnesota guardianships and conservatorships, contact an attorney or visit the MN Courts website.
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.