Trusts and Estates

Chui v. Chui

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Cite as B308574
Filed November 30, 2022
Certified for Partial Publication December 22, 2022
Second District, Div. One

By Michelle Barnett Batista
Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, APC

Headnote:  Guardian Ad Litem – Removal Petition – Termination of Appointment  

Summary:  A minor capable of making informed decisions has the right to petition for removal of a guardian ad litem and to retain counsel for that limited purpose.  The appointment of a guardian ad litem for a minor terminates when the minor reaches the age of majority.

The probate court appointed Jackson as guardian ad litem for minor beneficiaries, Jacqueline and Michael, in connection with litigation concerning the trust.  When Jacqueline and Michael were 17 and 16 years old, respectively, they retained attorneys and filed petitions to remove Jackson as their guardian ad litem.  Jackson filed motions to disqualify Jacqueline and Michael’s attorneys and to strike the petitions.  The trial court granted the motions to disqualify the attorneys and struck the removal petitions.  Jacqueline and Michael appealed.  In the meantime, they reached the age of majority.

The appellate court reversed the orders striking the removal petitions and directed the trial court to terminate Jackson’s appointment as guardian ad litem.  Although the Probate Code contains no substantive or procedural provisions governing removal of a guardian ad litem, the provisions of the Guardianship-Conservatorship Law support a minor’s right to petition for removal of his or her guardian ad litem.  Because Jacqueline and Michael were adults and there was no other ground for continuing Jackson’s appointment as their guardian ad litem, the law required termination of his appointment.

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