In re Conservatorship of Kocemba

429 N.W.2d 302 (1988)

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In re Conservatorship of Kocemba

Minnesota Court of Appeals
429 N.W.2d 302 (1988)

Facts

Helen Kocemba (plaintiff) became confused and depressed after her husband’s death. In 1985 Luana Webster (defendant), Kocemba’s niece, filed an involuntary petition for appointment as conservator. The trial found that Kocemba was incapacitated and appointed Webster as conservator. Kocemba was moved into a nursing home in the fall of 1985. Kocemba and Webster’s relationship deteriorated, and they often argued. Kocemba did not want to live in a nursing home and wanted to return home. Webster refused to let her, believing Kocemba was not capable. Webster’s relationship with the rest of Kocemba’s family was also strained, even involving litigation. In June 1986, Kocemba filed a petition for the removal of Webster as conservator and a voluntary petition for the appointment of a successor conservator. At an August 1986 hearing, Webster presented the testimony of two doctors that Kocemba had signs of dementia, depression, and a severely impaired memory, needed a conservator, and could not live independently. Kocemba did not present any medical testimony. Other family members testified that Kocemba had improved since 1985 and Webster should not be conservator. The court appointed a social-services agency to create a plan for Kocemba to return home. The agency reported that Kocemba could not care for herself at home alone, but she could live with someone else. The court removed Webster as conservator of Kocemba’s person and estate, finding that Webster did not serve Kocemba’s best interests, because Kocemba wished to return home. The court also found that Kocemba remained incapacitated and appointed a neutral third party as conservator. Kocemba appealed the court’s finding that she was incapacitated, and Webster appealed the court’s removal of Webster as conservator of Kocemba’s estate.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Norton, J.)

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