Annual guardianship accountings are reports containing all the financial details and events that occurred in the ward’s estate over the past year. It must be filed under oath with the court less than 60 days after the anniversary date guardianship began.
These reports must contain property and claim information, account for all monies that came in or went out of the estate, list all assets being administered, ratify any transactions not previously approved by the court, and provide commission calculations.
A guardian must also sign an affidavit stating under penalty of perjury that the accounting report is correct and complete, that the guardian has filed all tax returns of the ward, and has paid all taxes owed by the ward during the accounting period.
What Fiduciary Powers and Duties Do I Have as a Guardian of an Estate?
A guardian of an estate must handle the ward’s estate, including personal property, real property (land and anything on it), money, bank accounts, cars, furniture, and any legal claims resulting from personal injury or similar.
A guardian must take possession of and protect a ward’s property, collect all debts, rentals, or claims, and bring or defend any suits by or against the ward. A guardian is responsible for being extremely cautious when managing the ward’s estate and always acting in good faith, with the ward’s best interests as the highest priority.
A guardian will also need to work with the court to obtain authorization for any expenditures outside of any allowance the court may have previously authorized. If a guardian makes any expenditures not approved by the court, they risk being removed from their position and being held personally liable.
What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid With Annual Guardianship Accountings?
Filing proper annual accountings can be quite complex, and therefore mistakes are common, especially when the person filing did so on their own without the help of an attorney.
Common mistakes include:
- Incorrectly showing the period covered or using an incorrect reporting period.
- Failing to itemize receipts and disbursements.
- Not obtaining ratification for actions taken without the court’s approval.
- Not verifying cash balances.
- Improperly reflecting assets on hand at the end of the accounting period.
- Neglecting to include the proper tax statements.
- Failing to adequately show changes in value.
To avoid these pitfalls, a guardian should keep all receipts and documentation pertaining to their guardianship.
How Can an Attorney Help Me With Annual Guardianship Accountings?
As seen by the common mistakes above, doing annual guardianship accountings on your own can be difficult. While it is not required that you retain a lawyer to help, it is often the best way to protect yourself and your ward. After all, an incorrect account puts you at risk of losing your guardianship and potentially being on the hook financially as well.
For any questions and the legal help you deserve, call us now at 281-771-0560.