Opinion:Walterscheidt v. Hladik, 2022 OK 57
Subject matter:Adult Guardianship
Date Decided:June 14, 2022
Trial Court:District Court of Kingfisher County; Judge Schneiter
Route to this Court:Appeal from Order Appointing Guardian and Approving Guardianship Plan; Retained
Facts:After the ward was diagnosed with early onset dementia, the husband of the ward filed a Petition for Guardianship. The adult daughter of the ward objected to the husband’s petition and sought to be named the ward’s guardian. After hearing conflicting testimony about who should be ward’s guardian, the trial court appointed adult daughter as guardian and approved daugher’s proposed plan of care, which provided that ward’s sister would be ward’s primary caregiver and that ward would live with sister and sister’s boyfriend in Enid, and would be required to move out of the family home of more than 34 years. The lower court ordered that visits between husband and ward would be only at the discretion of the adult daughter, and visits would be limited to three times a week for one hour. 
Standard of Review:Factual disputes relating to the appointment of a guardian are reviewed for an abuse of discretion. In re S.A.H., 2022 OK 10, ¶ 11, 503 P.3d 1190, 1194. Further, the Court will reverse a guardianship order only if it is clearly against the weight of the evidence or contrary to law. In re Guardianship of Berry, 2014 OK 56, ¶ 61, 335 P.3d 779, 799. Questions of law are always subject to de novo review. 
Analysis:Due to the aging population, families are increasingly faced with challenging situations, and many will rely on a court to make the most difficult decisions. A thorough record and a carefully explained final journal entry of judgment will assist those concerned in the resolution of the disputes, and will provide for a more effective appellate review. The record supports the trial judge’s actions and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in appointing an adult daughter as guardian over the ward’s person and property approving the guardian’s plan for care and treatment and property management of the ward. 
Outcome:Trial Court’s orders appointing guardian and approving guardianship plan affirmed. 
Vote:6-3. Kane, V.C.J., Winchester, Edmondson, Combs, Gurich (author), and Kuehn (by separate writing), JJ., concur

Darby, C.J., (by separate writing), concurs in result

Kauger and Rowe (by separate writing), JJ., dissent
Other: Case was retained and placed on Court’s “fast track” docket on October 26, 2020; opinion was issued June 14, 2022.