Court denies attorneys’ fees where deficient guardianship pleadings are withdrawn

   In the Matter of the Estate of Booker, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, A-0382-11T2, the Court denied an application for attorneys’ fees. 

    Here, the decedent died intestate.  His sole heir was an adult son.  As such, the decedent’s mother retained an attorney to file an action seeking, among other relief, the creation of a special needs trust for her grandson (the decedent’s son).  Also, she sought, in a separate action, to be appointed guardian for her grandson. 

   Approximately six (6) months following the filing of the Complaints, the decedent’s mother discharged her attorney.  She also withdrew the guardianship application – filed by the attorney – because it was deficient on its face, not even having the requisite affidavits from two medical doctors.  Furthermore, the guardianship action was improperly filed in New Jersey because the alleged incapacitated person was a resident of Pennsylvania, and therefore, the proper venue would have been in Pennsylvania.  The trial court also noted that the plaintiff (decedent’s mother) had not demonstrated how her actions aided in preserving or protecting the fund in court.  Rather, quite to the contrary, the Court was concerned by allegations of possible misappropriation of the estate assets by the plaintiff. 

   In the end, the trial judge denied the attorney fees and the attorney appealed.  The Appellate Division affirmed.

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