NORTH DAKOTA Guardianship

For most people, the ability to make important personal decisions is assumed, and probably taken for granted.  We all hope we will remain competent and able to manage our own affairs through our entire lives.  However, for various reasons, such as mental illness, physical disability caused by a catastrophic accident, or chemical dependency, there are occasions when someone else may need to step in.

While guardianships are most commonly discussed regarding the elderly, guardians can be appointed for people of any age, including children.

North Dakota law recognizes both guardians, in place to “guard the person,” and conservators, in place to “conserve the estate.”  Guardianships can grant broad authority for all decisions involving residence, education, medical treatment, legal affairs, vocation/employment, and finances, or the Court can grant limited authority in some or all of those areas.

Anyone interested in the welfare of another person may ask the Court to appoint a Guardian.  Guardianship proceedings in North Dakota also involve the appointment of the following individuals:

  • Guardian Ad Litem, appointed to advocate for the proposed ward’s best interests

  • Court Visitor, a nurse or licensed social worker appointed to explain the need for a guardianship

  • Expert Examiner/Medical Professional, appointed to examine and assess the proposed ward

Guardianships can be complex and require specialized knowledge and consideration throughout the process, including advice regarding what type of guardianship is appropriate in any given circumstance.  The attorneys at PLM care about allowing the proposed ward to maintain personal dignity and the ability for self-care, to the extent possible.