Monday, September 22, 2008

Battle for Guardianship

At issue are the care of 86-year-old Suzanne Munn and whether Christopher Kellogg, her 63-year-old nephew by marriage, is a fit guardian for her and her $5 million estate. Kellogg and his lawyers say yes. Ruth Merchant, who was Munn's fiduciary and health-care surrogate before Kellogg took over those responsibilities, says no.

In June, Kellogg asked the Probate Court to appoint him as emergency temporary guardian for his aunt, who is in failing physical and mental health.

Merchant, in a motion filed with the court, maintains Kellogg should not be appointed permanent guardian because he has previously filed for bankruptcy, was sanctioned for not meeting financial obligations sustained in an acrimonious divorce from his wife, and was arrested for carrying a firearm at a Palm Beach International Airport security checkpoint.

Attorney for Merchant: "Mrs. Merchant was Suzanne Munn's bookkeeper, tax preparer and fiduciary for at least 10 years, She watched out for her interests and cared for her. Then suddenly Mr. Kellogg removes her and puts himself in her place."

Attorney for Kellogg: "When people are perceived as having a little bit of money, there's a cast of thousands who think they know what's best."


Full Article and Source:
Nephew Christopher Kellogg, ex-surrogate Ruth Merchant battle for guardianship of Suzanne Munn

3 comments:

we the people said...

In this particular case, if the allegations are true, I would not appoint Kellogg, the nephew as his Aunt's temporary guardian.

Any person petitioning the court for guardianship who has a criminal arrest backgroud and/or is an individual with a problematic financial history would be a risky choice as a fiduciary.

The court needs to closely monitor all fiduciaries, whether family or non-family members.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne Munn's wishes should be respected. It's her money. It's her decision. If she wants her nephew to handle her financial affairs, then that's exactly what should happen.

The Court has no business over-riding someone's wishes.

sue said...

Unfortunately, it is too late to ask Suzanne Munn what her wishes are at this time:

Kellogg: "In June, Kellogg asked the Probate Court to appoint him as emergency temporary guardian for his aunt, who is in failing physical and mental health."

In addition, if true, I believe Ms. Munn made her wishes clear who her fiduciary would be, Ms Merchant, for the past 10 years before her health declined:

"Mrs. Merchant was Suzanne Munn's bookkeeper, tax preparer and fiduciary for at least 10 years, She watched out for her interests and cared for her."

My belief is that family members must always be considered first if it is in the best interest of the ailing person.