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What rights does a person have under a guardianship?

Most St. Paul residents place a high value on their freedom and ability to make important decisions regarding their life. With this in mind, it can be a scary prospect to think of someone else making those decisions on one's behalf. This is exactly what happens when a guardianship arrangement is established.

A guardianship is frequently created for senior citizens who no longer have the capacity to make certain decisions.

Fortunately, Minnesota law contains certain procedures and provisions for protecting loved ones during these times. For example, protected persons, or those who are subject to a guardianship, have certain rights recognized by statute.

These rights include the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to have one's personal wishes, medical treatment preferences, religious beliefs and other opinions taken into consideration. An individual's personal privacy is also taken into account, as well as the person's care, comfort, social and recreational needs.

The individual is also given the ability to exercise as much self-control as possible. When decisions are made, the individual is to be consulted to the extent possible and his or her wishes are considered. Accordingly, even when a guardianship is in place, the affected person still has power to make certain decisions with the aid of others.

Other rights also cannot be taken away unless the circumstances justify it, such as the right to vote and the right to marry. Individuals can petition the court if their rights are not being protected. Accordingly, while it can be intimidating to think of a loss of freedom with a guardianship, individuals should understand the statutory protections that are in place to uphold their rights.

Source: The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, "524.5-120 Bill of rights for wards and protected persons," accessed on May 29, 2015

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