Guardianship / Conservatorship

What is a Guardian and a Conservator?

A guardian is appointed by the court to make the personal decisions for the protected person ("Ward".) The guardian has authority to make decisions on behalf of the protected person about such things as where to live, medical decisions, training and education, etc.

Wards are minors or incapacitated adults who have a court appointed guardian, lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible personal decisions, and who have an inability to meet personal needs for medical care, nutrition, clothing, shelter, or safety.

A conservator is appointed to make financial decisions for the protected person ("Conservatee".) The conservator typically has the power to enter into contracts, pay bills, invest assets, and perform other financial functions for the protected person.

Protected persons are those individuals who have had conservators appointed for them because they lack similar capacity and have demonstrated an inability to make decisions regarding their financial affairs or estate.

Less restrictive options to Guardianship and Conservatorship should always be considered first. Bank plans, Authorized Representative, Representative Payee, Power of Attorney, and Trusts may all be alternative options to consider.

Guardianship/Conservatorship Video

This video was produced for general educational purposes by the 4th Judicial District of Minnesota. The content is not a substitute for legal advice from a lawyer. The information is based on Minnesota laws, but some information may be specific to a particular Judicial District or County Court.


Sherburne County Law Library

Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making and Protective Services

MAGIC-The Minnesota Association for Guardianship & Conservatorship 

Transition Age Adults 

Minnesota Judicial Branch Guardianship / Conservatorship Information