Aug 23, 2017
A New Jersey case evaluated the performance of a court-appointed guardian for an
incompetent ward. A charity (The Society for the Propagation of the Faith) was the
sole charitable beneficiary under the 1995 will of a testator referred to as “J.F.” The
probate court approved the settlement of the formal accounting of the guardian who
managed J.F.’s substantial estate during her final years. The beneficiary argued the
trial court should have charged the guardian (an attorney) for alleged losses incurred
in her efforts to dispose of J.F.’s real property (described in more detail below) and
should have disallowed the expenditure of legal fees and accounting fees to an
The case highlights the fact-sensitive, he-said/she-said nature of the performance
and compensation of a guardian for an incapacitated ward, and highlights several of
the grey issues that guardians can face, and steps that might be useful to consider.
One of the key steps the guardian seemed to do right to protect herself was hiring
outside experts, in particular a reputable regional CPA firm to handle accounting,
and a real estate appraiser and broker to sell residential real estate, although it
should be noted that she was challenged on each of these.
Read his commentary here.
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