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Cynthia Anne Spence

Cynthia Spence’s Answers

19 total


  • How possible would it be for my parents to obtain legal guardianship over me if I have an eating disorder?

    I am 18 years old and have suffered depression for 5 years along with an eating disorder. I am about 15 lbs under weight and have run away in the past. I have also self harmed in the past. I am afraid that my parents will be able to gain guardians...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    You have the right to have an attorney in guardianship proceedings. If you can't afford one, the county pays for it. You need to make sure you ask for an attorney if they don't automatically appoint one for you (some of the out-state counties don't routinely appoint an attorney). Your parents would need to prove that you are impaired to the extent that you can't make or communicate responsible decisions regarding your safety, nutrition, health care, shelter and that you have demonstrated behavioral deficits in this area.

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  • What do I need to obtain guardianship of my sibling?My mother passed away and my father no longer wants custody of him.

    I am 24, about to be married.I have a steady job and so does my fiance.We live in Minnesota. I have my brother with me now, and my father lives in Arizona.I have had my brother visiting with me since May 26, 2015. My father said he will not send f...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    There are a variety of options, all dependent on the particular facts of your circumstances.

    One option is a Delegation of Parental Authority Form, which your dad could sign and which would essentially give you parental like rights, but which would not take away your dad's rights.

    Guardianship may be a possibility, but I can't tell whether it would be appropriate, with the limited information that you provided.

    You should contact an attorney experienced in guardianship and conservatorship law.

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  • How do I go about obtaining guardianship of a 17 year old, not related, that is being abused at home?

    Since this child is close to being 18, I really don't want to do the whole foster care system. Is there a way to just have the mother sign a document that she can live with us? She wants to leave but doesn't want us to have any problems taking her...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    Hello. There is a simple form that the parent could sign (in front of a notary), that would give parental powers to you. It is called a "Delegation of Parental Authority" or "Delegation of Parental Powers". This does not take away mom's authority, it just gives you the authority she would also have (to register for school, make medical appointments, etc.) It is good for up to a year.

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  • Can a legal guardianship in MN be enforced in Indiana?

    My cousin haschigh functioning autism and my uncle took guardianship when he turned 18. Most of us disagreed with it and so did he. He contested for months and succeeded in limiting the powers of the guardian. He maintains the abbility to choose ...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    Both Minnesota and Indiana have adopted UAGPPJA (Uniform Adult Guardianship Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act). This means that each state recognizes the guardianship orders of another state and that there is an easy way to transfer the Order to the jurisdiction of the other State, if necessary.

    The bigger issue, based upon what you are saying, is whether your cousin is ready to be "Restored to Capacity" and have the guardianship terminated - essentially, can he now make his own good responsible decisions concerning living, nutrition, medical, safety, shelter. If he can, then the guardianship may be terminated. He has the right to petition to end the guardianship any time. He should speak with an attorney licensed in Minnesota regarding ending the guardianship. Good luck!

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  • I would like to become an interested party in a guardianship case. How do I proceed?

    A friend of mine is in the middle of a guardianship case, in which I would like to be an interested party. The requesting guardians are his mother and grandmother. I do not feel that the mother is a good fit to be my friend's guardian. I would ...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    An "Interested Person" who is entitled to notice of a guardianship proceeding (and certain filings) is defined in Minnesota Statute 524.5-102. (Google it). If you are an "interested person", the petitioner's attorney has to provide you with notice of certain things.

    If you are not an "interested person", you can still attend virtually all court hearings (unless the court closes it, which it can do in guardianship proceedings upon the request of your friend's attorney). Court records listing upcoming hearings are public. Court hearings are open to the public. You are free to go observe, without an attorney. Your friend may appreciate the support.

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  • In Minnesota i wish to file a petition for guardianship/conservatorship for my mother. She would be the repondent and I would

    file the petition for her informa pauperis. She meets the requirements by receiving food stamps and energy assistance to be declared informa pauperis. If I have checked that part of the application, do I need to fill out any more of the applica...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    If she meets those requirements, you should be good and should not have to provide additional financial information.

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  • In Minnesota, my mother was given an emergency guardianship/conservatorship by the court. The petition reads that she would be

    placed in assisted living if the petition is granted. County social services seems to want that. However, the judge said at the hearing that that was up to the appointed guardian. The court order does not reference being moved to assisted livin...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    That is correct. The initial petition only deals with whether a guardian should be appointed, which it sounds like the judge did. Although the petition is required to state whether the person will be moved, that issue is not an issue that the court has authority to rule on at the initial hearing. The guardian now has authority to make living decisions, and must do so in the best interest of the ward (your mom). If you feel the guardian is not making appropriate decisions, you may be able to file a petition with the court to address your concerns (though first I recommend talking with the guardian and trying to resolve the issues first).

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  • How do i get rid of my appointed guardian?

    I was appointed a guardian in January 2011. I was hosptizaled for depression in 2010 and after that is when the guardianship happened. I didn't try to fight for my own guardianship because i agreed to have one and i didn't know the trouble that it...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    You have the right to file a Petition for Restoration to Capacity, which would terminate the guardianship if it is successful. The process involves filing a Petition, serving notice on Interested Persons and having a court hearing on it. I am an attorney in Buffalo and the focus of my practice is guardianships. I would be happy to speak with you about your situation.

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  • What can I do to protect my father from my brother that's unstable mentally and taking financial advantage of his frail status?

    So my older brother has lived with my parents for the majority of his 40 + years of life. My mother passed away about a year and a half ago & since then I have noticed dramatic changes in my father. My brother, who is not 100% right in the head, h...

    Cynthia’s Answer

    If your father is being victimized, you should contact Adult Protection in the county in which your father resides and file a vulnerable adult report. As the reporter, your identify is confidential and cannot be disclosed by Adult Protection, absent a court order.

    You could also file for guardianship and conservatorship over your father. However, doing so would not be an "anonymous" process - it would be very public.

    Filing reports or starting the guardianship process often divides family members. However, if your father truly is being victimized by your brother, he may need someone like you to be brave enough to step up and get him the help that it sounds like he needs.

    Good luck!

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  • Can a conservator sell your property without your permission?

    I had a stroke in 2002, my cousin became my conservator and she sold a piece of my property without my permission. What is the legal aspect of this?

    Cynthia’s Answer

    Before selling personal property a Conservator must serve a Notice of Intent to Dispose of Personal Property on the protected person (you) and Interested Persons. You have 10 days to object to the proposed sale. You do so by filing an objection and petition to review the proposed transaction with the Court within 10 days, serving a copy on the conservator. If the Conservator failed to do this, I would recommend filing a petition with the Court, asking the court to review the transaction and either order return of the property (if that is even possible at this point) or you may have a claim against the Conservator's bond for the value of the property.

    You should consult with an experienced guardianship and conservatorship lawyer to discuss the particulars of your situation.

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