Changes in Guardianship and Conservatorship Training Requirements

In 2016, the South Dakota Legislature instituted training requirements for new guardian and conservators under SDCL 29A-5-119. The training is provided by the South Dakota State Bar and provides basic information about the role and obligations of a guardian and conservator, respectively. A guardian or conservator appointed after July 1, 2016, was previously required to complete the applicable online training curricula within four months of the date of the guardian or conservator’s appointment. Proof of completion of the training was then filed with the court where the guardianship or conservatorship was pending. Guardians and conservators who had been appointed prior to July 1, 2016, did not have to complete the training.

In 2021, through House Bill 1261, the Legislature extended the applicability of these training requirements to all court appointed guardians and conservators, whenever appointed. All guardians and conservators appointed prior to July 1, 2021, who have not previously completed the training or had the training requirement waived by the court, will now be required to complete the training and file a certificate of completion with the court prior to November 1, 2021.

In addition, for guardians and conservators appointed after July 1, 2021, this training must be completed and certificate(s) of completion filed with the court prior to appointment by the court. Also beginning July 1, 2021, guardians must include in their annual report to the court the date of completion of the training, unless the training requirement has been waived by the court. This requirement also applies to conservators who must include in their annual accounting to the court the date on which the training was completed unless the annual accounting has been waived or modified by the court, or the training requirement has been waived by the court.

The training requirement can be waived by the court for good cause shown. If the training requirement is not waived and the previously-appointed guardian or conservator does not complete the required training within the required timeframe, this failure can be cause for removal of the guardian or conservator. The training continues to be available at the South Dakota State Bar’s website:

If you are guardian or conservator appointed in South Dakota, you should contact your attorney to make sure you are in compliance with these new requirements.

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