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Cindi Spence  


Spence Legal Services

Phone: 763-682-2247

Email Website

Cindi Spence - 12800 Whitewater Drive, Suite 100, Minnetonka, MN 55343

Practice Area

  • Guardianship and Conservatorship 100

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Biography

Cindi’s goal at Spence Legal Services, LLC is to provide exceptional, experienced representation to each and every client. Her passion is guardianship and conservatorship law. Cindi also practices in the areas of civil litigation, probate litigation and family law.

When people are not able to make their own good, responsible medical, personal and financial decisions, (most often because they have a disability, disease such as dementia or have been incapacitated in an accident), Cindi helps by getting a substitute decision maker appointed, or developing a less restrictive strategy that will make sure they are safe and protected.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Cindi ventured to Omaha, Nebraska for college, receiving a business degree from Creighton University in 1993. Cindi then returned home for law school, receiving a JD from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1996. After law school Cindi landed a job in Buffalo, Minnesota, clerking for Wright County District Court Judge Bruce Douglas. When her clerkship ended, Cindi joined a local law firm and eventually became shareholder and managing attorney at Johnson, Larson, Peterson & Matt, P.A.  Cindi opened her own firm, which is now Spence Legal Services, in 2010.

When Cindi is not lawyering, there is a decent chance you will find her running. Cindi has completed over 15 marathons, including Boston Marathon in 2013. If she’s not running, she may be writing about running.

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  • MAGiC (Minnesota Association of Guardianships & Conservatorships), member (2006 – present), Board Member (2013 – present) and Communications Chair (2014 – present)
  • Rotary Club of Buffalo (2010 – 2015)
  • Rotary Club of Minnetonka (2015-2016)
  • Toys For Tots, Buffalo, Minnesota – Local Coordinator (2011 – 2013)
  • STRIVE mentor (2013 – present)
  • 18th District Bar Association (President 2009-10; Vice President 2008-09; Treasurer 2007-08; Secretary 2006-07)
  • Wright County Legal Advice Clinic, volunteer, 2007 – 2010
  • Volunteer Attorney Coordinator for MSBA Civic Education Committee Lawyers in the Schools Program for Buffalo High School
  • Volunteer judge, MSBA High School Mock Trial Competition
  • Volunteer teacher at Buffalo High School for Minnesota Supreme Court oral argument, MSBA Civic Education
  • Crisis Nursery of Wright County, Advisory Committee, member (2000 – present)
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, member
  • The John E. Simmonet American Inn of Court, former member
  • Tenth Judicial District Law Clerk CLE Committee, former member

Does a Respondent in a guardianship proceeding have the right to an attorney?

Yes! A person under guardianship in Minnesota has the right to an attorney in any court proceeding and for the purpose of petitioning the court. This right is set forth in the Bill of Rights of Ward and Protected Person, Minn. Stat. 524.5-120. In most counties, an attorney will be appointed from the outset for a Respondent, once a petition for guardianship has been filed. A respondent does have a right to hire his/her own private attorney (or one can be hired for him/her by the family). Once you are appointed as guardian, it’s your responsibility to make sure the ward or protected person has an attorney, if he or she wants one (or you think it’s necessary). If there are sufficient funds, a guardian can hire an attorney privately. If there are not sufficient funds (the ward is IFP -in forma pauperis), the court will appoint an attorney to represent the ward and the fees will be paid for by the county. Each county has different policies on how much an attorney for the ward is reimbursed.

What does a Court Visitor do in Minnesota Guardianship Proceedings?

When a guardianship or conservatorship petition is filed, the Court appoints someone called a “Court Visitor”. (See Minn. Stat. 524.5-304). The role of the Court Visitor is to serve the petition on the Respondent (the person for whom a guardianship is being sought), to go over the petition with the Respondent and to provide a written report to the Court about the visit. The Court Visitor’s report will include an opinion as to whether guardianship/conservatorship appears to be appropriate, based upon the Visitor’s interactions with, and observations of, the Respondent. The Court Visitor will usually call the Respondent, or the person taking care of the Respondent, in advance of the meeting to coordinate a meeting. Sometimes the Court Visitor will make an unannounced visit to the Respondent. The Court Visitor will make note in his/her report whether anyone else was present during the meeting with the Respondent. The Court Visitor’s report is filed with the court and a copy is given to the Petitioner or his attorney in advance of the hearing.

Does a person under guardianship in Minnesota retain any rights?

Yes! A person under guardianship in Minnesota has the right to an attorney in any court proceeding and for the purpose of petitioning the court. This right is set forth in the Bill of Rights of Ward and Protected Person, Minn. Stat. 524.5-120. In most counties, an attorney will be appointed from the outset for a Respondent, once a petition for guardianship has been filed. A respondent does have a right to hire his/her own private attorney (or one can be hired for him/her by the family). Once you are appointed as guardian, it’s your responsibility to make sure the ward or protected person has an attorney, if he or she wants one (or you think it’s necessary). If there are sufficient funds, a guardian can hire an attorney privately. If there are not sufficient funds (the ward is IFP -in forma pauperis), the court will appoint an attorney to represent the ward and the fees will be paid for by the county. Each county has different policies on how much an attorney for the ward is reimbursed.

Name: Cindi Spence
Law Firm: Spence Legal Services
Address: 12800 Whitewater Drive, Suite 100, Minnetonka, MN 55343
Phone: 763-682-2247

Email Website

Website URL: http://www.spencelegalservices.com
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