We understand that making the decision to obtain a court-ordered guardianship for an adult can be difficult. If a loved one is no longer capable of caring for themselves and properly managing their affairs, and they did not establish a living trust for themselves, then a guardianship may be the only alternative. When families reach this point, and they are facing the decision to get the court involved, most families wonder how much a guardianship will cost? While the overall cost can be estimated, it depends on numerous factors that must be taken into consideration.
The Guardian’s compensation
A guardian is entitled to “reasonable” compensation for his or her services. These fees must be related to the guardian’s duties and must be reviewed and approved by the Court overseeing the guardianship. There are numerous factors that are considered by the Court in determining what the reasonable fee should be. Some of those factors include:
- Guardian’s expertise and any professional standing
- Nature and difficulty of the work to be done
- The conditions or circumstances under which the work must be performed
What about public guardians?
A public guardian is a county position and entitled to fees as any other guardian would be. However, if the ward’s estate is insufficient to pay fees then the public guardian generally will not collect a a fee.
Should I hire a Private Professional Guardian?
Private professional guardians will nearly always charge a fee, as it is their profession to serve in this capacity. So, unless the ward has sufficient assets to pay the fees, a private professional guardian will not be an option. A private guardian’s fees are often higher at the beginning of a guardianship because of the work involved to initially establish a guardianship.
How much are legal fees for a guardianship?
There are benefits associated with consulting an attorney before and during the guardianship process. An estate planning attorney can bring invaluable expertise in incapacity planning and in navigating through the court process. It would not be uncommon for fees to establish a permanent guardianship to start at $3,000. However, this is only an estimate and should be discussed with your attorney because rates and time involved can vary. In most cases, attorney fees are paid from the assets of the ward and must be approved by the court.
What if I need an emergency guardianship?
There may be urgent situations where a guardian must be appointed immediately. In these situations, the law provides emergency procedures for the appointment of a temporary guardian. The fees for a temporary guardianship also vary, especially if a temporary guardianship is likely to result in a permanent guardianship.
If you have questions regarding incapacity planning or guardianships please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.