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Limit Guardian Immunity from Wrongdoing

Urgent Need To Protect Those Under Guardianship – HF3483/SF3438

Guardians are immune from liability based on new court interpretation. Currently, a guardian is completely immune for virtually all acts of negligence, as a 2022 Minnesota Court of Appeals decision shows. [1]

Persons under guardianship are at risk of harm. As it stands, a guardian could provide for no food, no care, or neglect the person subject to guardianship, even up to the point of leading to death, and still not be civilly liable.

Minnesota is an Outlier. Minnesota is the only state to grant complete immunity to guardians. We are aware of no other individual or professional aside from a guardian that is afforded complete immunity in the state of Minnesota. Many states provide no immunity to guardians. This bill mirrors other states with narrow and limited civil liability for guardians who willfully cause egregious harm.

How the Bill was Developed

Advocates, guardians, and stakeholders gathered. Immediately after the court’s decision, stakeholders were convened. Based on these conversations, it was agreed that establishing limited guardian liability was important to balance the need to protect vulnerable Minnesotans with a desire to ensure that guardians acting in good faith can perform their duties without concern of liability.

Guardians are not civilly liable unless extreme acts. Removal of a guardian would remain the primary response to troubling guardian behavior. Under this legislative proposal, guardian liability is limited to the extreme circumstances where harm can be shown and is the result of reckless or willful misconduct, or gross negligence.

Bill expanded to address input. At present, in some instances guardians are not able to resign as guardians without finding a successor guardian. To address concerns that have been raised, new language has been added to the proposal that would give the court discretion to grant resignation without a named successor in certain circumstances.

Guardianship Task Force. Efforts are being refined to convene a task force to address a myriad of issues related to guardianship, including sufficient funding for guardianships, licensing for professional guardians, and increasing the use of less restrictive alternatives to guardianship.

Representative Sandra Feist

Senator Scott Dibble


[1] Zika v. Naree Weaver, et al., 979 N.W.2d 472 (Minn. App. 2022), rev. granted 11/23/2022; rev. vacated 7/12/2023.


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