The Debtor’s daughter filed a Chapter 13 case for her mother based upon a power of attorney. The Chapter 13 Trustee challenged the validity of the power of attorney and requested dismissal. Eventually, Debtor’s counsel conceded that the power of attorney was ineffective but invoked Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1004.1 to save the filing. Debtor’s attorney argued that the Debtor was incompetent and did not have a representative. Under these circumstances, the Debtor’s daughter allegedly qualified her “next friend” authorized to file the bankruptcy petition.
The Court concluded that the Debtor was incompetent by virtue of severe dementia and memory loss at the time the bankruptcy case was filed. Furthermore, the Debtor did not have a representative, such as a guardian ad litem or other fiduciary, before the bankruptcy. Instead, the Debtor’s daughter properly acted as her “next friend.” Thus, under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1004.1, the bankruptcy filing was valid. The Court overruled the Chapter 13 Trustee’s objections and then appointed the Debtor’s daughter as the Debtor’s guardian ad litem for purposes of prosecuting the Chapter 13 case.