Is it really necessary to keep all records – even invoices and receipts – to show the expenses paid from the guardianship estate?
Keeping meticulous records is especially challenging for a guardian of the estate. This is especially true if it is complicated by factors such as: family conflict, prior financial mismanagement, or complex and valuable assets. While the same basic rules apply for all guardians of the estate, each guardianship is unique. Some cases require greater vigilance in record keeping. If in doubt, consult an attorney for guidance tailored to the specific facts of your case.
- Example 1: In some cases, guardian parents care for their disabled adult child in their own home, applying modest public benefits received by the protected person towards shared household expenses. When these are no other relatives or persons who might question a guardian’s spending, records and receipts may never be needed to justify certain expenditures in court.
- Example 2: In other cases, the protected person resides in a developmental center or group home that takes care of payments for housing, food, and clothing. The guardian may do nothing other than turn over benefits to the facility to make those payments. When the guardian is not directly paying for each item needed by the protected person, maintaining receipts for these types of payments would be impracticable to produce.
- Example 3: If the guardianship was greatly disputed from the beginning because different family members and/or friends sought to be appointed as guardian. The ones not selected by the court may question the motives of the person who was selected. Consequently, they may apply to court for proof that that the guardian is doing the job properly.
- Example 4: A protected person may have been financially exploited prior to the establishment of the guardianship; and the may be ongoing legal proceedings regarding his or her assets. As a result, the guardian may have to keep detailed records to document exactly what assets and income were received when he or she became the guardian of the estate.
- Example 5: There are some guardians involved in estates of great value (in the millions of dollars, or more) where the amounts spent by him or her may be questioned by prospective heirs of the protected person.