A Guardian, or 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.
When fees for a Guardian and/or attorney are submitted to the Court for determination, the Court shall consider criteria, including but not limited to:
- time and labor required;
- 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;
- fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services;
- 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. (Fla. Stat. 744.108).
All Petitions for Guardian and Attorney Fees and Expenses must be accompanied by an itemized description of the services performed for the fees and expenses sought to be recovered.
A Petition for Fees must also include the period covered and the total amount of all prior fees paid, or costs awarded to the Petitioner in the guardianship proceeding currently before the Court. The Court will not approve a Petition for Fees or Expenses without prior notice to the Guardian and to the Ward unless the Ward is a minor or is totally incapacitated. (Fla. Stat. 744.108).
In Florida, a “surcharge” is the amount that a Court may charge a fiduciary (here, a Guardian) who has breached their duties to the Ward. The Petitioner must demonstrate that there was a fiduciary duty, that the fiduciary breached their duty, and the breach was the proximate cause of the damaged suffered. Once surcharged, the Guardian can be personally responsible to pay the attorney fees of the person who brought forth their breach, usually in a removal proceeding.
Florida Statute 57.105 – Bad Faith Recovery:
Under Florida Statute 57.105, one may recover from a party, or an attorney, who is acting in bad faith. The Court shall award a reasonable attorney’s fee, including prejudgment interest, to be paid to the prevailing party in equal amounts by the losing party and the losing party’s attorney on any claim or defense at any time during a civil proceeding or action in which the Court finds that the losing party, or the losing party’s attorney, knew or should have known that a claim or defense when initially presented to the Court or at any time before trial.
Why choose the Horton Law Group?
At the Horton Law Group, we treat our clients like family. We are actively involved in the community. We maintain professional relationships with our clients long after their cases are resolved. We work hand in hand with our clients every step of the way to make sure they are involved and are aware of what is going on in their case. We are confident that you will be happy with your decision to hire the Horton Law Group to represent you during this difficult time. Please call 561-299-0018 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation with a qualified member of our team.