In the Matter of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of R.G., an Incapacitated Person; C.G., Petitioner
K.P.; S.P.; R.G.; K.N., co-guardian; S.S., co-guardian; Audrey Ulrich, co-guardian; GAPS; American State Bank & Trust, conservator; Jeff Nehring, guardian ad litem; and Christopher Carlson, guardian ad litem, Respondents, K.P., Appellant C.G.; American State Bank & Trust, conservator, Appellees
from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Robin A. Schmidt, Judge.
D. Olson, Williston, N.D., for petitioner and appellee.
Lisa M. Six (argued) and Garth H. Sjue (on brief), Williston,
N.D., for respondent and appellee.
State Bank & Trust. William C. Black, Bismarck, N.D., for
respondent and appellant K.P.
Sandstrom, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol
Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.
[¶1] K.P. appeals from an order appointing a
conservator and co-guardians for his adult uncle, R.G. We
conclude the district court did not clearly err in finding
good cause not to appoint K.P. as guardian and conservator
for R.G. and did not abuse its discretion in appointing other
individuals and entities as conservator and co-guardians for
R.G. We affirm.
[¶2] In September 2014, R.G. lived in one of
several mobile homes on land in rural McKenzie County owned
by him and members of his family. R.G.'s brother helped
care for him until that brother died in May 2014. According
to R.G., his niece, S.P., became his caregiver after his
brother's death, and she lived near Billings and usually
saw him once or twice a month. In September 2014, law
enforcement officers raided the property where R.G.'s
mobile home was located as part of an investigation of
others. According to a McKenzie County Deputy Sheriff,
R.G.'s mobile home had dog feces throughout and did not
have running water, a sewer or septic system, a furnace, a
working refrigerator, or an adequate food supply.
[¶3] After the law enforcement raid, C.G., a
niece of R.G.'s, petitioned for appointment of an
emergency conservator and guardian for her uncle, alleging he
was between 86 and 87 years old and was being unduly
influenced by S.P., who was nominated as his attorney-in-fact
under a July 2014 durable power of attorney. C.G.'s
petition sought to have R.G. declared an incapacitated person
and to establish protective proceedings for his residential,
medical, and financial affairs. The district court appointed
Guardian and Protective Services, Inc. (" GAPS" )
as an emergency conservator and co-guardian and K.N., a
relative of R.G.'s by marriage, as a co-guardian. The
court also appointed a guardian ad litem for R.G. At a
hearing on the emergency order, R.G. testified he executed a
power of attorney in July 2014, appointing S.P. as his
attorney-in-fact and he had recently transferred some
property to her. According to the guardian ad litem, R.G. had
recently transferred property, including an oil well, to S.P.
and the condition of " the trailer house was very, very
poor." The guardian ad litem testified
he believed a conservatorship and guardianship was necessary.
After that hearing, the court determined the emergency order
was appropriate for a period not to exceed 60 days and
invalidated R.G.'s power of attorney pending further
[¶4] C.G. thereafter petitioned for
appointment of a conservator and a guardian for R.G. The
district court appointed a visitor, a physician, and a
guardian ad litem to examine R.G., and those entities made
written reports to the court. At a hearing on that petition,
R.G., K.P., C.G., and the guardian ad litem agreed R.G.
needed a conservator and a guardian, and the court considered
the appropriate entity or entities for appointment. At the
hearing, K.P. testified his sister, S.P., was willing to
waive her appointment as her uncle's designated
attorney-in-fact and healthcare agent under the July 2014
power of attorney and K.P. sought to be appointed as his
uncle's conservator and guardian as the named alternate
under that document. The district court said reports by the
physician, the visitor, and the guardian ad litem had been
submitted to the court for review and found R.G. was an
incapacitated person in need of the continuing care and
supervision of a conservator and guardian. The court
appointed GAPS, K.N., and S.S., a granddaughter of R.G.'s
brother, as co-guardians and appointed American State Bank &
Trust as conservator for R.G.
[¶5] The district court had jurisdiction to
appoint a conservator and guardian under N.D. Const. art. VI,
§ 8, and N.D.C.C. § § 27-05-06 and 30.1-02-02.
K.P.'s appeal from the order is timely under N.D.R.App.P.
4(a). Appeals from an order appointing a conservator and
guardian are authorized under N.D. Const. art. VI, §
§ 2 and 6, and N.D.C.C. § § 28-27-01,
28-27-02, and 30.1-02-06.1. American State Bank argues,
however, we ...