APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
(Anna Wright, Petitioner-Appellant, v.
Mary L. Carley, Guardian of the Estate of Ralph F. Sodini,
alleged disabled, Respondent-Appellee)
527 N.E.2d 530, 172 Ill. App. 3d 1055, 123 Ill. Dec. 67 1988.IL.1145
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County; the Hon. Harold J. Frobish, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN, P.J., and SPITZ, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND
Respondent Mary Carley filed a petition requesting the appointment of a guardian of the estate and person of Ralph Sodini, pursuant to section 11a-1 of the Probate Act of 1975 (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-1). The circuit court of Livingston County granted the petition and ordered respondent appointed as plenary guardian. Subsequently, Sodini's sister, Anna Wright, the petitioner in this appeal, filed a motion to vacate the order appointing a guardian. The motion was denied, and petitioner appeals.
Petitioner raises only one question on appeal. She argues the order of guardianship must be vacated because respondent failed to give her proper notice of the hearing on the petition as required by section 11a-10(f) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-10(f)). Petitioner contends the requirement of notice to the nearest relatives is jurisdictional.
Sodini is 78 years old and suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Respondent is Sodini's niece. Respondent filed her petition on October 27, 1987, requesting that she be appointed guardian over Sodini's estate and person. The petition listed three sisters as his nearest surviving relatives. Respondent's father, who was Sodini's brother, is deceased. The record indicates no notice of the hearing was given to the sisters. One of the sisters, Esther Jonen, was apparently informed of respondent's intent to be appointed guardian as she wrote a letter to respondent's attorney supporting the petition.
The petition included several attachments. One was a copy of the letter from Esther Jonen mentioned above. Also attached was a "Designation of Guardian" in which Sodini designated respondent to be his guardian should he be adJudged a disabled person. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-6.) This document was dated July 8, 1987. Sodini had also signed a document entitled "Consent," in which he reiterated his preference for respondent to be his guardian. The consent was dated October 14, 1987.
The hearing was held on October 28, 1987. Only respondent and Sodini appeared. Sodini testified that he was having difficulty with his memory, and he had been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's disease. He recently had difficulty remembering certain events surrounding his financial affairs, especially those relating to another niece, Susan Spandet. He stated he trusted respondent, and he wanted her appointed as his guardian. Respondent testified regarding her belief that Spandet had received the benefit of certain of Sodini's assets, which were not intended to be given to Spandet. The court ordered respondent appointed as plenary guardian of Sodini's estate and person. The court also granted her authority to bring an action on Sodini's behalf for recovery of funds.
On January 5, 1988, petitioner, Sodini's sister, filed a motion to vacate the order appointing respondent as Sodini's guardian. Petitioner is Spandet's mother. At the hearing on the motion, petitioner stated she had received no notice of the petition. As a relative listed in the petition, she argued she was required to receive notice. The court found that failure to give petitioner notice of the ...