New Jersey Court Holds that an Unrelated Agent under a POA Lacks Standing to File a Lawsuit Seeking Guardianship of the Principal (Apr. 12, 2011)

New Jersey Court Holds that an Unrelated Agent under a POA Lacks Standing to File a Lawsuit Seeking Guardianship of the Principal (Apr. 12, 2011)

In In re Nova, 2011 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 946 (Ch.Div. Apr. 12, 2011) [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers / unenhanced version available from lexisONE Free Case Law], Costa Nova, the alleged incapacitated person, revoked a power of attorney and advanced directive for health care. He then executed new ones appointing different people as his attorneys-in-fact and health care proxies. The former attorneys-in-fact brought a guardianship proceeding, and Mr. Nova moved to dismiss.

In addressing the motion, the court referenced In re Jane Tierney, an Alleged Mental Incompetent, 175 N.J. Super. 614, 421 A.2d 610 (Ch. Div 1980) [enhanced version], which held that the statutory requirements that a complainant must state his relationship to the alleged incapacitated person, and if not spouse or next of kin, his interest, "reflects and substantiates the general rule that a proper complainant must be a relative or a person with a legal or equitable interest in the subject of the action."

The court noted that the petitioners were not relatives of the alleged incapacitated person, nor did they have a legal or equitable interest in his person or his estate. Thus, they lacked standing to bring the action.

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