Friday, December 27, 2013

Supreme Court Upholds Ruling in Guardianship Case

A state representative from Stoddard has lost his second appeal to the N.H. Supreme Court to recoup legal fees in a guardianship dispute over his elderly mother.

On Friday, the N.H. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mary Louise Eaton and her guardian, son Michael R. Eaton, in a dispute with Daniel A. Eaton.

Since 2010, Daniel A. Eaton of Stoddard has tried to reclaim $45,000 he said he spent in legal fees trying to become his mother’s guardian. The issue in the current appeal was solely about whether Eaton had authority to act as his mother’s power of attorney.

The high court also ruled against Eaton in the guardianship matter in April 2012. 

He and another brother, Dean J. Eaton of Keene, had each sought guardianship of their ailing mother, who has dementia, in 2010. 

At the time, Daniel Eaton said his mother had asked him to become involved in the guardianship proceedings, telling him she would pay for his legal fees. He maintained he was acting on her wishes. 

However, Eaton’s brothers disagreed, saying that Daniel Eaton was acting in his own interest.

This belief was first upheld by the 8th Circuit Court Probate Division in Keene in 2010.

In 2012, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys sided with Daniel Eaton, arguing that denying the payment of $45,000 created “financial disincentives” for filing guardianship petitions, court documents stated.

According to state law in guardianship cases, “the court costs and fees for the counsel and resource person shall be borne by the proposed ward.”

But a lawyer for Daniel Eaton’s brother Michael maintained that Michael was the guardian, whereas Daniel was a petitioner. As such, he did not have the same rights as a guardian in the case and was not entitled to the money.

Full Article and Source:
Supreme Court Upholds Ruling in Guardianship Case

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An overturn on a guardianship case? That's really rare!