Minnesota law states that less restrictive interventions must be considered and ultimately ruled out prior to pursuing guardianship/conservatorship to ensure there is no other way to provide for the care, safety and financial management of the person with questionable capacity. Less restrictive alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship include:
- Use of a Health Care Directive (formerly known as power of attorney for health care or living will) and/or the development of a Supported Decision Making plan to identify people who can help the person with decision making
- Working with a geriatric care manager to recommend, arrange, and monitor services
- Trustworthy family, close friends, or others help ensure bills are paid, checks are deposited, etc.
- Banking tools such as automatic payment of regular bills, direct deposit of income checks, and joint accounts enable a trusted person to pay bills
- Representative payee to manage governmental income benefits
- Power of Attorney
Many of the alternatives to guardianship/conservatorship require the person’s cooperation and some cognitive capacity. In addition, these alternatives require caution due to the potential for financial exploitation. Regardless of what tool is selected, having multiple people involved can offer checks and balances to help prevent abuses, and reduce stress or burnout for the supporters.