Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Estate of Chelo

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

June 12, 2019

In re Estate of Amet Chelo.

          Superior Court Providence County (PM 17-1646) Maureen B. Keough, Associate Justice

          For Appellant: Attorney(s) on Appeal Richard A. Boren, Esq.

          For Appellee: Barry J. Kusinitz, Esq.

          Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

          OPINION

          Maureen McKenna Goldberg, Associate Justice

         The appellant, Amet Chelo (appellant), appeals from a Superior Court judgment dismissing his probate appeal after finding that, because the appellant was under guardianship, he lacked the capacity to retain legal counsel and file an appeal to the Superior Court in his own name. Before this Court, the appellant claims that the Superior Court erred in dismissing his probate appeal because, according to the appellant, he was only under a limited guardianship and, thus, was entitled to pursue the probate appeal on his own. This case came before the Supreme Court on May 8, 2019, pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After a close review of the record and careful consideration of the parties' arguments, we are satisfied that cause has not been shown and that the appeal may be decided at this time. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

         Facts and Travel

         The appellant is a ninety-three-year-old resident of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and the father to four children: two sons-Glenn Chelo and Craig Chelo (collectively, appellees), and two daughters-Kimberly Whalen and Debra Grenier. After several unfortunate disputes amongst the four siblings concerning their father's care and difficulty in visiting him, appellees filed a "Petition for Limited Guardianship or Guardianship" with the Town of Cumberland Probate Court on November 18, 2015. In accordance with G.L. 1956 § 33-15-4(a)(2), a decision-making assessment tool (DMAT) completed by Brian Ott, M.D. also was filed with the petition. The DMAT concluded that appellant's decision-making abilities in the areas of finance, health care, relationships, and residency were "limited by moderate dementia." The petition was also supported by a report drafted by appellant's guardian ad litem, which recommended the appointment of a guardian with respect to matters of finance, health care, and residency, and recommended a limited guardian with respect to matters of relationship "to ensure that his family, his significant other * * * and anyone else that he chooses has access to him, and can visit him in his home without interference from any family member."

         The appellees' petition was heard on December 15, 2015, in the Probate Court. After discussing the need for a guardian and the scope of the guardianship, the parties accepted the appointment of Bruce D. Sawyer as guardian for appellant, "with the direction that [Sawyer] consult with [appellant] on all major decisions." An order entered that same day stipulating:

"(1) That Bruce Sawyer is appointed as Limited Guardian of both the person and estate of Amet Chelo.
"(2) That in his capacity as Guardian, Mr. Sawyer is instructed to consult with Mr. Chelo before making any major decisions."

         Although the order set forth that Sawyer was appointed as "limited guardian," the certificate of appointment, also issued that same day, stipulated that Sawyer was "qualified as guardian of both the person and estate of Amet Chelo and [is] vested with all the power and authority prescribed by law to said office[, ]" with no reference to any limitations of authority. Three days later, on December 18, 2015, a second order was entered that provided that Sawyer "is hereby appointed Guardian of the person and estate of Amet Chelo" and detailing the days and conditions under which appellees could visit their father.

         In the ensuing months, the siblings failed to abide by the visitation schedule set forth in the December 18, 2015 order, which prompted Sawyer to file a miscellaneous petition with the Probate Court stating:

"Amet Chelo has not had visitations with his sons for some time. Although Amet seems to enjoy living with his daughter * * * and is receiving good care, I would like authority to evaluate whether it would be more feasible and appropriate for ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.