Petitioning a Court to become the guardian of an adult is, unfortunately, not a cheap process. Many clients are very shocked to find out just how expensive becoming the guardian of a loved one can be. Not only are their court costs that have to be paid, but there are attorney and doctor fees as well.
First of all, you must file two separate petitions with the court. Each of these petitions has its own filing fee, which is not small. For example, in Duval County, Florida, each filing fee can be $400.00. And the fees do not stop there. A 3 person examining committee is appointed by the court as well as an attorney to present the potential ward. Each examining committee member has their own individual fee, which can range anywhere from $175.00 to $250.00 each. The court appointed attorney must also get paid for their time.
If the potentially incapacitated person has sufficient assets, there is nothing that can be done about these fees. They must be paid. Initially, the petitioner will have to bear these costs, which can be quite burdensome. However, once appointed, the petitioner can file a motion with the court asking to be reimbursed for having had to pay these costs up front from the alleged incapacitated person’s assets. If the alleged incapacitated person does not have sufficient assets and/or has very low income, then it is very likely that these fees will be waived and born by the state.
Unfortunately, the costs of guardianship do not stop quite there. According to Florida Law, in order to petition a court to become a guardian over another person, you must be represented by an attorney. This means there is yet another attorney fee that must be paid. Just like the costs above, the petitioner usually will have to bear the costs up front of these attorneys’ fees, but can later ask the court for reimbursement from the alleged incapacitated person’s assets.There are also a lot of other much smaller costs involved that can add up quickly. Such as the cost of having to send notice to the potential ward’s next of kin via certified mail, obtaining certified copies of the order appointing guardian, and accounting expenses just to name a few.
For more information about becoming the guardian of a loved one in Florida, call the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC. The first initial consultation is free. We are here to help you through the difficult process of guardianship in hopes of helping your loved one get the much needed care they need.