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Wilson v. State

Supreme Court of Alaska

September 4, 2015

HELEN WILSON, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, and STATE OF ALASKA, OFFICE OF PUBLIC ADVOCACY, Appellees

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Palmer, Eric Smith, Judge. Superior Court No. 3PA-13-00109 PR.

Shelley K. Chaffin, Law Office of Shelley K. Chaffin, Anchorage, for Appellant.

Laura Fox, Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee State of Alaska, Department of Law.

Elizabeth Russo, Assistant Public Advocate, and Richard K. Allen, Public Advocate, Anchorage, for Appellee State of Alaska, Office of Public Advocacy.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 550

BOLGER, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Helen Wilson is an elderly woman residing at the Palmer Pioneer home. Helen previously lived in her own house but was unable to manage her medications and nutrition independently. Her son and grandson lived with her but were unable or unwilling to help. After Adult Protective Services received several reports of harm, a temporary emergency guardian was appointed for Helen; the guardian placed her in an assisted living facility and then in the Pioneer Home. Despite her limited financial means, Helen continues to support her son and grandson, who remain in her house. Helen appeals the appointment of a partial public guardian and full conservator. We affirm.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

A. Helen's Living Situation

Helen Wilson[1] is an elderly woman who lives at the Palmer Pioneer Home with her husband, who is in very poor health and has an appointed public guardian. Helen and her husband own a house in Wasilla, to which Helen wants to return after her husband's

Page 551

death. Helen's son and grandson reside in Helen's house. Helen's son's fiancé e also stays at the house periodically but does not live there.

Deborah Rumbo from Adult Protective Services (APS) became involved with the Wilsons when Helen, her husband, and her grandson were all living in the Wasilla house. Helen's husband called APS reporting that he had been left home alone and needed help, and he was subsequently placed in assisted living. Helen's husband had been receiving in-home personal care assistant services, which incidentally benefitted Helen. These services ceased when Helen's husband moved out of their house, but out of concern for ...


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