When is a Florida Guardian Entitled to Compensation?
Do court appointed guardians get paid? What criteria does the court consider in determining an award of fees to a guardian? When is a guardian entitled to compensation? What is Florida Statute 744.108? Can a West Palm Beach guardianship lawyer assist me in guardianship litigation regarding fees? Is a Florida guardian entitled to attorneys fees? Who pays for the attorneys fees in a Florida guardianship?
Guardian and Attorney Fees and Expenses
If you are about to become a court appointed guardian in Florida, or are considering filing for guardianship of a vulnerable adult, you may want to read Florida Statute 744.108 in its entirety. This statute discusses the compensation of a guardian and sets forth the criteria to be considered by the Florida guardianship court in determining an award of fees to a guardian. In Florida, a guardian, or an attorney who has rendered services to the ward or to the guardian on the ward’s behalf, is entitled to a reasonable fee for services rendered and reimbursement for costs incurred on behalf of the ward.
What are the criteria the Florida guardianship court considers when fees for guardian or an attorney are submitted? Florida Statute 744.108 lists the following criteria:
- The time and labor required
- The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required to perform the services properly
- The likelihood that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment of the person
- The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services;(e) The nature and value of the incapacitated person’s property, the amount of income earned by the estate, and the responsibilities and potential liabilities assumed by the person
- The results obtained
- The time limits imposed by the circumstances
- The nature and length of the relationship with the incapacitated person
- The experience, reputation, diligence, and ability of the person performing the service.
Florida Guardianship Litigation: Jones v. Guardianship of Jones
Jones v. Guardianship of Jones is a February 14, 2020 Fifth DCA opinion regarding the compensation of a Florida guardian. This case is a great example of litigation involving a guardian trying to be compensated for the work she did as guardian.
Here, the guardian happened to be the ward’s daughter. Should the daughter of the ward 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 West Palm Beach guardianship, or if you are involved in fee litigation, you may want to consult with an experienced trial lawyer. To interview a lawyer at Pankauski Lazarus, free of charge, call (561)268-0233 ext.101.