A judge gave disabled dentist Monica Yepez a reason to let out a big sigh of relief Thursday.
Probate Judge Eduardo Gamboa released Yepez from her state-mandated guardianship. He ordered her appointed guardian, El Paso lawyer Hector Phillips, to transfer her property back to her within 45 days. Phillips and Yepez are scheduled to meet today to take inventory of her jewelry.
"I wish you luck, and please watch your spending so you can have some cushion for your needs in the future," Gamboa told Yepez.
Gamboa also ordered Phillips to write a $200 check to accountant Karen Carson to complete Yepez's 2007 and 2008 tax returns, which were never filed. Gamboa appointed Carson in August to audit Yepez's estate.
Nervous before the hearing, Yepez left court with her relentless smile noticeably bigger.
"I'm satisfied," she said. "Now that I got my life back, I plan on taking advantage of it. It's exactly what I wanted."
But Yepez's family and friends worried that the court ruling was just the first step in getting her life back in order.
In 2007, her estate was valued at $1.1 million. Her three vehicles, worth a combined $140,000, were sold, as were the assets of her dental practice. The proceeds from those sales have yet to be accounted for.
Yepez's father, Alonso Yepez, said he worried that her belongings and the money would never be found.
"There's still a lot of things missing, but that's all we wanted, just to get her off the guardianship. It was draining her," Alonso Yepez said.
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Judge Releases Disabled Dentist From State-Ordered Guardianship
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