As the guardian of the estate for an incapacitated person, you will have several responsibilities that take time. Sometimes, you may even pay for things for the benefit of the protected person’s estate out of your own pocket. Although you agreed to serve in this role, you do not necessarily have to bear the financial burdens that might come with doing so.
Understanding the rules regarding payments and gifts may help you avoid breaching your fiduciary duty in acting as a guardian of the estate of a loved one.
Receiving payments for services rendered
According to the New Jersey Courts, when acting as the guardian of the estate of an incapacitated person, you have entitlement to payment for your services. You should receive reimbursement for any money you pay out of pocket for the protected person’s benefit. You may also take commissions as specified by the state.
The courts will also commonly allow you reimbursement for reasonable and necessary attorney fees. You may, for example, hire an estate law attorney to aid in filing certain documents or petitions with the court on behalf of the protected person.
Getting gifts as a guardian
Depending on your relationship with the protected person, he or she may at some point offer you gifts. Before accepting any such generosity, however, you need permission from the court. Generally, the courts will view taking gifts as a conflict of interest.
When handling the estate affairs of an incapacitated family member, friend or close acquaintance, you do not want to cross lines or potentially cause issues with the protected person’s other loved ones. Working with a legal representative may help you navigate your rights and obligations.