Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Miseveth v. Aelion

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

December 21, 2017

JING MIAO MISEVETH
v.
JEANNE AELION, ET AL.

         Circuit Court for Prince George's County Case No. CAE-15-19452

          Wright, Graeff, Nazarian, JJ.

          OPINION

          Wright, J.

         In 2015, Jing Miao Miseveth, appellant, filed, in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, a petition for guardianship of the person and property for her husband, Theodore Miseveth. The circuit court ultimately granted appellant's request to be guardian of the person; however, the court ordered that a third-party, Jeanne Aelion, appellee, be guardian of the property. In 2016, Aelion was appointed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (the "VA") to be the fiduciary of Mr. Miseveth's VA benefits (hereinafter "Representative Payee"). Not long after, appellant submitted an application to the VA requesting that she be named Representative Payee. That application was granted. Aelion thereafter filed a petition in the circuit court regarding, among other things, appellant's appointment as Representative Payee. Following a hearing, the court ordered that appellant reinstate Aelion as Representative Payee or, in the alternative, that appellant submit a portion of Mr. Miseveth's VA benefits to Aelion every month. Appellant then filed a motion for reconsideration, which the court denied.

         In this appeal, appellant presents the following question for our review:

Pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 511(a) and the interpreting case law, did the Circuit Court lack subject matter jurisdiction to pass any order addressing the appointment of the fiduciary for or the distribution of Mr. Miseveth's Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits?

         For reasons to follow, we answer appellant's question in the affirmative. Because, however, the circuit court's judgment contains various other provisions not challenged in the instant appeal, we reverse only that part of the judgment concerning Mr. Miseveth's VA benefits.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Miseveth, a veteran, suffered a stroke in May of 2015 that left him disabled. Not long after, appellant, Mr. Miseveth's wife of approximately four years, filed a petition seeking to become guardian of her husband's person and property. The circuit court held a hearing on that petition in November of 2015 and ultimately granted appellant's request to be guardian of Mr. Miseveth's person. Appellant's request to be guardian of the property, on the other hand, was denied. In so doing, the court expressed concerns about appellant's accounting practices and management of Mr. Miseveth's funds. As such, a court-appointed attorney, Aelion, was named as guardian of Mr. Miseveth's property.

         In or about March of 2016, Aelion, as part of her duties as guardian of Mr. Miseveth's property, was named by the VA as Representative Payee of Mr. Miseveth's VA benefits, which equaled $3, 068.90 per month. As part of that appointment, the VA issued a Fiduciary Agreement that itemized Mr. Miseveth's monthly expenses and how his VA benefits would be used to pay those expenses. Included in that itemization were expenses for auto insurance; utilities, mortgage, and insurance on a primary residence; utilities and insurance on real property owned by Mr. Miseveth; utilities and insurance on another piece of real property owned by Mr. Miseveth; and, a $1, 000.00 monthly stipend for appellant. The total for those expenses was $2, 976.89, all of which was covered by Mr. Miseveth's VA benefits.

         Around the same time that Aelion submitted her application, appellant also submitted an application to the VA to become Representative Payee, but the VA denied that application and instead named Aelion. Several months later, appellant, unbeknownst to Aelion, again applied to become Representative Payee. The VA ultimately granted that application and named appellant as Representative Payee. As part of that appointment, the VA issued a notice to Mr. Miseveth and Aelion informing them of the new appointment. The VA also created a new list of Mr. Miseveth's expenses and how his VA benefits would be used to pay those expenses. That list of expenses, which differed significantly from the list that had been issued following Aelion's appointment, included expenses for auto insurance; utilities and insurance on a primary residence; a "cleaning service" for the residence; appellant's prescriptions; "lawn care"; "groceries"; and "special foods" for Mr. Miseveth. The total for those expenses was $2, 724.35.

         In October of 2016, Aelion filed a petition in the circuit court regarding appellant's appointment as Representative Payee. Specifically, Aelion argued that, as guardian of the property, she had insufficient funds to cover Mr. Miseveth's expenses because appellant, as Representative Payee, was using some of Mr. Miseveth's VA benefits for "questionable" expenses. Aelion asked the court to settle the matter at a hearing on October 24, 2016, which the court had previously scheduled to address other issues.

         At that hearing, the circuit court heard evidence regarding appellant's appointment as Representative Payee and her use of Mr. Miseveth's benefits. Based on that evidence, which is not in dispute, the court found as follows:

It's noted that after the Court appointed the guardian of the property, that [Aelion] became the representative payee, that at some point [appellant] had that changed and she became the representative payee. And it really - it appears that the guardian of the property was not opposed to that, if she were paying his bills. Because he has a significant number of bills, which ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.