Florida Guardianship Appeal: Is a Family Member Guardian Entitled to Compensation?
What is a guardianship? When should you consult with a Florida guardianship lawyer? Do you have an elderly family member who is no longer able to take care of himself? How can a guardianship help you to protect your elderly mom or dad? Do guardians get paid? What should I know before filing to become the guardian of someone?
West Palm Beach Adult Guardianships
When most people think of a guardianship, they think of minor children. However, at our West Palm Beach litigation firm, we focus on adult guardianships. Any Florida guardianship attorney can tell you that guardianship litigation is booming. Unfortunately, many guardianships are filed to prevent or protect elderly family members from being taken advantage of by greedy caretakers, friends, neighbors etc. Oftentimes, we get calls from people who believe that someone is taking financial advantage of an elderly person. In other circumstances, the children of an elderly person call us because they believe their mom or dad is not properly caring for himself or herself.
Guardianships are taken very seriously by the Florida courts because guardianship proceedings usually involve certain rights being taken away from the ward. The ward is the person who is subject to the guardianship. The right to marry and the right to contract are just two of the rights that may be taken from a ward during a guardianship proceeding.
If a lesser restrictive alternative to a Florida guardianship, such as a POA or trust, exists the guardianship courts will consider them before deciding that a guardianship is necessary. Therefore, having proper estate plans in place can help people to avoid guardianships.
Duties of a Guardian
If you are thinking about becoming the guardian of your elderly mom or dad, you should become familiar with what will be expected of you. In Florida, once a guardian is appointed, the guardian has a duty to administer the guardianship. A guardian may be appointed for a ward’s person, property, or plenary (both). The guardian is a fiduciary and may exercise only those rights that have been removed from the ward and delegated to the guardian.
West Palm Beach guardianship lawyers know that there are responsibilities to the court that a guardian must undertake in his or her role as guardian. For example, once letters of guardianship are entered, an initial report of the guardian is required to be filed pursuant to F.S. 744.362.
A Florida guardian must also file an annual accounting. Florida Statute 744.367 provides what a guardian must do to properly file the required annual report. There are strict deadlines that must be met and certain items that must be included in the report. A guardian of the property must provide an annual accounting, and the guardian of the person must provide an annual guardianship plan. To learn more specifics about the duty of a guardian to file an annual report, read this Florida statute in its entirety.
Furthermore, a guardian must account to the guardianship court, and other interested parties, as to the assets of the ward. In fact, a court may order production of records for inspection Although interested persons are defined by Florida Statute 731.201(23), for the purposes of guardianship proceedings, there are no strict guidelines. Therefore, you should consult with your Palm Beach guardianship lawyer if you need clarity.
Compensation of a Guardian
Florida Statute 744.108 discusses the compensation of a guardian. In Florida, a guardian is entitled to a reasonable fee for services rendered to the ward. The statute sets forth the criteria to be considered by the Florida guardianship court in determining an award of fees to a guardian. If you are a family member guardian, are you still entitled to compensation under Florida Statute 744.108?
Jones v. Guardianship of Jones
In Jones v. Guardianship of Jones, a February 14, 2020 Florida guardianship appeal, the court discusses whether or not the daughter of the ward should receive compensation for the services she provided as her dad’s appointed guardian.
A court order denied the daughter’s request for guardian compensation stating that, as the ward’s daughter, she had an obligation to provide such services for the ward without compensation. However, the 5th DCA reversed and remanded this decision.
The appellate court explains that a guardian who is a family member is entitled to compensation for services that would be reasonably performed by a professional or other non-family member guardian necessary to discharge a guardian’s duty to the ward.
However, a family member guardian is not entitled to compensation for services that any family member would do for their relative under the circumstances. In other words, a family member guardian is not entitled to compensation for doing what any daughter does.
If you looking to file a Florida guardianship, or if you are involved in guardianship litigation, you may want to consult with an experienced guardianship lawyer. To interview a lawyer at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, free of charge, call (561)514-0900 ext.101.