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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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Guardianship & Conservatorship

A guardian or conservator may be appointed to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. A guardian is appointed to manage your personal financial affairs, while a conservator manages your estate.

A guardian or conservator is appointed by the court. Anyone can petition the court for appointment of a guardian or conservator, but it is usually done by a relative or by the person or facility that has assumed responsibility for your care. Any interested person, including the Department of Health or the Department of Social Services, may petition to have a guardian appointed to you. In some circumstances, you might ask the court to appoint a guardian to you.

You may also make prior arrangements for a guardian by nominating a person to fill these roles before you become incapacitated. The nomination should be made in writing or orally to the court. The court will usually appoint the person of your choice, so long as they are able to complete the duties.

If you do not make prior arrangements, the court will chose the guardian based on a number of factors. Those include, whether or not the person is your relative, where the person lives, and their qualifications.

The court might appoint more than one guardian or conservator.