Can court-appointed guardian get paid?


Q. Is a person who is a court-appointed guardian of both person and property eligible to be paid for their efforts? If so, how is the amount determined?
— Guardian

A. Yes, you can.

If you serve as a court-appointed guardian of the person and/or the property of an incapacitated person, also called a ward, you are permitted to receive reasonable reimbursement of expenses incurred and fees or commissions for services, said Catherine Romania, an estate planning attorney with Witman Stadtmauer in Florham Park.

If two different people are appointed as guardians — one as the guardian of the person and one as the guardian of the property — the fees for services to be paid to the guardian of the person must be agreed upon by the guardian of the property, she said.

She said the guardian of the property will then have to account to the court all disbursements made from the ward’s funds, including any fees paid to the guardian of the person.

New Jersey statute sets forth the fees in the form of commissions to be paid to the guardian of the property based upon the amounts of the principal and income which the guardian is responsible for on behalf of the ward, Romania said.

“Commissions in the amount of 6 percent may be taken on all income received by the guardian,” she said. “In addition, commissions may be taken in the amount of $5 per $1,000 of principal on the first $400,000, and $3 per $1,000 of principal in excess of $400,000.”

Romania said a minimum commission of $100 is permitted annually regardless of the value of the principal.

If there are two guardians, then the statute allows for a one-fifth increase in the principal commission, she said.

Moreover, upon application to the court, a greater amount than set forth above may be requested on a showing of unusual or extraordinary services, Romania said.

You are also entitled to reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses incurred.

“You should keep all receipts and a record or diary or expenditures because issues, if any, will likely not arise until after you file a report of guardian and accounting with the court which usually is required annually,” she said.

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