Can I still submit expenses as guardian after her death?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I have been guardian to my aunt for the past six years. She passed away in August 2009. I live in one state and she lived in another. For the past six years, I did not submit any personal expenses because I was afraid she would outlive her money and did not want to deplete her estate.

Now that she has passed away, I have petitioned the court for 'commissions' - compensation for handling the guardianship - and have been approved. I have also petitioned the court for expenses and have been denied. The state law states the following:

"Commissions (Applies only to Guardians of the Estate and General Guardians) The guardian may receive a commission for the guardian's time and trouble in handling of the ward's estate. The amount or method of compensation is set by the Clerk of Superior Court, in the clerk's discretion, up to, but not to exceed five percent (5%) of the qualified estate receipts and disbursements. The clerk will consider the time, responsibility, trouble, and skill involved in the management of the estate. Commissions to guardians are accounted for as costs and expenses of administration. The commission is to cover any ordinary expenses, such as telephone, mailing, and travel, incurred by the guardian in performing the duties of the guardian, as well as paying the guardian for his or her services in managing the estate. In limited circumstances,the clerk may approve additional reimbursement for out of pocket expenses. The guardian must petition the Clerk for approval of a commission or additional reimbursement for out of pocket expenses before making distribution of that commission."

I have submitted the IRS allowable mileage allowance and half daily per diem for food. I had a few nights in a hotel until I could clean out the house enough to stay there when I went up to see her and take care of her property.

What are the 'limited' circumstances under which the clerk should approve reimbursement for expenses? I have spent $21,000 over the past five years out of pocket.

Expert Answer

Unfortunately, I cannot provide an answer to your question about reimbursement for guardianship expenses. The answer depends on the specifics of your state's law. Different states have different laws and rules regarding this matter. You'll need to consult a lawyer in your state to lean the answer.

I will add that it seems morally right that you receive reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses. I hope your state's law agrees.