Focus on the New Rules for Fiduciary Compensation

Under a previous blog article titled “New Rules Coming for Fiduciaries” we noted the requirement of a fiduciary to give advance notice of a change in compensation. That rule became effective on January 1, 2012. This posting will flesh that requirement out a little more.

Under A.R.S. 14-5109 attorneys, fiduciaries, and other professionals involved in a guardianship/conservatorship case must give notice of intent to seek fees against a Ward’s estate when first appearing in the case. This notice must be filed with the court and a copy provided to all interested parties. There is no standardized form or format for giving this notice. However, the notice should give at least a general explanation of the compensation arrangement and how the compensation will be computed. Additionally, changes in a professional’s compensation schedule must be given at least thirty days in advance of such change. The statute does not specifically require it, but the best practice would be to also provide such notice in writing.

Claims for compensation (i.e. invoices) from attorneys and guardians ad litem appearing in a case must be submitted to the fiduciary handling the Ward’s estate within four months of incurring those costs and must be in writing. See A.R.S. 14-5110. If these claims for compensation are not provided within this four month time frame they are permanently waived.

Generally, these rules do not apply to trusts unless the trust is subject to court supervision or Ward or Protected Person is a beneficiary of the trust.

If you need further assistance understanding how these new laws might affect guardianship or conservatorship cases you are involved with, contact a competent probate attorney