Mary Lou Schieber’s son, Mr. Schieber, filed an application for appointment as guardian and conservator of Mrs. Schieber. Mrs. Schieber’s sister, Ms. Hebert, then filed an application for appointment as limited guardian and limited conservator of Mrs. Schieber. The probate court appointed attorney Scott Ross to represent Mrs. Schieber in the proceedings. Following the hearing on the applications, the probate court found Mrs. Schieber totally incapacitated and disabled and appointed Mr. Schieber as guardian and conservator. Ms. Hebert filed a motion for new trial or rehearing, which the court denied.
Ms. Hebert then filed a motion to remove Mr. Schieber as guardian and conservator, alleging that he had failed to discharge the duties of his appointment and was not acting in Mrs. Schieber’s best interests. Mr. Schieber filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Ms. Hebert was not an “interested person” as defined in RSMo. §472.010(15) and therefore lacked standing to bring a motion to remove him as guardian and conservator. Ms. Hebert also filed a motion in which she sought the removal of Mr. Ross and the appointment of new counsel, arguing that Mr. Ross was not respecting Mrs. Schieber’s wishes in the course of his representation.
The Circuit Court of Nodaway County granted Mr. Schieber’s motion to dismiss, finding that Ms. Hebert did not have standing to bring the motion. The Court also denied Ms. Hebert’s motion for removal of Mr. Ross as appointed counsel. Ms. Hebert appeals.
Appeal dismissed. The sister of an incapacitated person does not have standing to appeal from the probate court’s judgment if she is not an “interested person” as defined by the probate code.
A party’s right to appeal from the probate court’s judgment is purely statutory. The probate court’s denial of a motion to remove a guardian or conservator is appealable, but the party appealing must have standing to do so under the probate code. According to RSMo. §472.160.1, to have standing to appeal an order of the probate court, the party must be an “interested person aggrieved thereby.” RSMo. §472.010(15) defines “interested person” as follows: “‘Interested persons’ mean heirs, devisees, spouses, creditors or any others having a property right or claim against the estate of a decedent being administered and includes children of a protectee who may have a property right or claim against or an interest in the estate of a protectee.” An incapacitated person does not yet have heirs or devisees, and a sibling is not a spouse or creditor; so, if the sibling has no property right or claim against the ward’s estate, she does not qualify as an interested person. Courts have refused to extend standing to a party who does not qualify as an “interested person” under the statute and only has a purely sentimental or filial interest in the ward or protectee.