Wilson v. Alaska Dept. of Law

Appellant Helen Wilson was an elderly woman residing at the Palmer Pioneer home with her husband. Helen previously lived in her own house but was unable to manage her medications and nutrition independently. Her son and grandson lived with her but were unable or unwilling to help. After Adult Protective Services received several reports of harm, a temporary emergency guardian was appointed for Helen; the guardian placed her in an assisted living facility and then in the Pioneer Home. Despite her limited financial means, Helen continued to support her son and grandson, who remained in her house. The master observed that Helen needed help managing personal care because she “was previously unable to maintain the level of necessary care prior to the petition being filed” and her family had previously “interfered with [personal care assistants].” And the master found that Helen needed assistance applying for benefits and managing her assets due to her “limited math abilities,” “age-related cognitive decline,” “tendency to give away more money than she can afford,” and “extremely tight budget,” which made “[h]er ability to receive benefits . . . a major factor in maintaining her current level of independence.” Accordingly the master gave the guardian authority to provide for Helen’s personal care, apply for insurance and government benefits, and“control [Helen’s] estate and income . . . to pay for the cost of services that the guardian is authorized to obtain on behalf of [Helen].” He recognized that Helen should be free to give away her discretionary income, but that she needed “a partial guardian [to] ensure that she only gives money away after her own necessities, including adequate nutrition, medication, and housing costs, have been met.” Before the superior court ruled on the master’s recommendations, the public guardian filed a motion for sale of Helen’s residence to help defray costs required to meet her daily needs. Helen appeals the appointment of a partial public guardian and full conservator, particularly for their role in making decisions on her behalf, and for selling her house. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Wilson v. Alaska Dept. of Law" on Justia Law