Minnesota Attorney General Wants Deeper Background Checks on Guardians

After hundreds of allegations of guardian abuse, neglect and theft across the nation, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson wants a more rigorous background check process for all guardians and conservators in Minnesota.

She is backing legislation, written by state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, and Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, that would provide greater protection to vulnerable adults under the care of guardians.

“This legislation would update Minnesota law to help ensure that guardians meet the high standards necessary to look after another person,” Swanson said.

The proposed legislation would require guardian background checks every two years instead of the current five years. It would expand the checks to include whether a guardian previously had a professional license denied, suspended or revoked.

It also requires they disclose any information that could decrease their ability to act as a guardian. This information includes whether they have filed for bankruptcy, were found liable for fraud or have had a restraining order against them.

Swanson’s office pointed to the conviction of guardian Terri Ann Hauge as to why the tougher law is needed. Hauge was suspended from practicing law in 1995, but because Minnesota law does not require she disclose the suspension, Hauge was appointed to serve as a guardian for dozens of adults.

Hauge stole more than $22,000 from a client, leaving him with $33 in his bank account, prosecutors said.

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Minnesota Attorney General Wants Deeper Background Checks on Guardians

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5 Responses to “Minnesota Attorney General Wants Deeper Background Checks on Guardians”

  1. Marty Prehn / National Elder Advocate Says:

    I as a National Elder Advocate and member of NASGA I applaud the work that is being done in the Minnesota House and Senate regarding addressing the issue of Elder and Guardianship abuse. I also would like to thank Lori Swanson the Minnesota Attorney General for filing charges against a court appointed guardian who like so many others took advantage of a vulnerable adult and financially exploited them. If only we could get the other 49 states to take the same pro-active stance and be the voice for those whose voices have been taken from them.

  2. Betty Says:

    How about lawyer guardians? Are background checks to be done on them too?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I don't see the real help background checks will give. I'm not against them, but there's so much more that can be done to give more volume of relief……

  4. jerri Says:

    this is a feel good suggestion in their trick bag with all due respect to the mn attorney general this will accomplish little to get to the bottom maybe we should see who her campaign contributors are do you think you will find individuals and corporations who profit from the protection industry? lets go looking and digging its all about the money and the votes folks so eyes wide open we need surprise audits by impartial non government workers to begin to get control of this out of control system turned into a racket and while we are on this subject what about those guardianship corps who claim — non profit status —- what a bunch of bs non profit? who are they lying to? the irs? to avoid taxes and other regulations?

  5. MichiganAdvocacyProject Says:

    As part of a ‘Performance Audit’ in 2011, Michigan’s OAG surveyed the State’s 83 probate courts. Despite easy access to a 'Central Registry', less than 1/4 performed criminal background checks on less than 1/3 of all appointed conservators and guardians, with a slightly higher percentage for guardian appointees for minors. Without background checks, courts don't know if a potential guardian is a convicted child abuser, in drug rehab or dodging taxes(i.e.). The issue is less about whether probate courts should perform background checks and more about why they don't, I think.

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