The mother is 92 years old and has three adult children, Chris, Karen, and Cindy.
Prior to April 2014, the mother lived with Chris, who served as her co-guardian. She returned to Michigan in April 2014, and in June 2016, after contentious proceedings, Karen was appointed Elaine’s sole guardian and conservator.
On August 7, 2017, Karen filed a petition to allow the first annual account. This included expenses. Karen did not further itemize the accounting or provide receipts or documentation for the expenses. Chris objected to the accounting, arguing, among other things, that it was not properly itemized, the utilities were exorbitant, and the caregiving expense was not supported by proper documentation.
Chris then filed a motion to modify the conservatorship and guardianship and requested that the probate court appoint professionals to fulfill both roles. In support of the conservatorship petition, Chris alleged that Karen’s accounting was incredibly vague and implausible and that she had failed to make records available for his review.
On December 14, 2017, Karen filed a second account, which was materially the same but included a handwritten monthly ledger as well as voluminous documentation including bank statements, various bills, and receipts.
A hearing took place in the probate court on December 18, 2017. Chris contended that the first annual account should be denied and that a professional third-party conservatorship was necessary.
The probate judge explained that he did not do his own accounting and that he would not go through all of these bills to see whether they’ve been properly accounted for. He further acknowledged that at a quick glance some of the expenses raised red flags, but he concluded that things add up and that money has been accounted for and that things balance. He explained that he was accepting the first annual accounting without ruling on whether or not any of these numbers are unreasonable. He explained that nothing in particular appeared to be facially fraudulent.
The probate court denied the motion to modify the conservatorship.
Aldrich Legal Services represents clients in a wide range of probate litigation matters.
Given the emotional nature of these disputes and their financial impact on all involved, it is critical that anyone involved in such a dispute retain highly qualified legal counsel.