What’s an Annual Accounting?

Annual accounting, guardian, guardianship, ward, protected person

Taking on responsibility for another person can be taxing. Florida law lays out duties and responsibilities of guardians. In addition, courts often supervise guardianships, along with requiring action from the people caring for the protected person (the ward). One such example is an annual accounting, which is also known as the guardian accounting.

Guardianship Requirements

When a person becomes incompetent, or no longer able to take care of themselves, a guardianship may be warranted unless other arrangements have been made. For example, a durable power of attorney names an agent to take care of the principal, the signer of the power of attorney. If the person who needs protection did not take steps to name an agent, a guardian may be appointed.

A guardian may be given authority over a person or their property, or both. In other words, the ward may be able to take care of himself or herself physically (person) but needs help managing real and personal property (property). And, of course, in some cases the ward requires assistance with both person and property.

Guardians are fiduciaries who must:

  • Act within the authority granted by the court;
  • Act in good faith;
  • Do everything in the ward’s best interests;
  • Use their special skills or expertise, if any, to help the ward.

The guardian will file an initial guardianship report within 60 days of being appointed.  The annual accounting is filed each year of the guardianship, on or before April 1, unless the court orders a different deadline.

Annual Accounting Contents

The information contained in an annual report varies somewhat depending on the type of guardianship. The guardian of a person contains an annual guardianship plan. This report provides updates on the ward’s current condition and what will be done for the ward in the coming year. A guardian of the property of a ward contains financial information. In other words, it provides the details of how the guardian handled the ward’s property through the previous year.

An annual accounting for the property of a ward will include:

  • An accounting of receipts and disbursements of the ward’s property over which the guardian has control;
  • A statement of the ward’s property as of the last day of the accounting period; and
  • Copies of year-end statements for all cash accounts.

The guardian is required to keep copies of receipts, canceled checks and other proof of payment for any disbursements made on the ward’s behalf. However, the copies do not need to be filed with the guardian’s accounting.

The court requires a filing fee for the accounting. The fee is based on the value of the ward’s estate and may be waived for very small estates.

Explore Alternatives to Guardianship.

At the Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we help clients build, develop, and maintain estate plans that adapt to their changing lives, including times of incapacity. Please contact us at 772-324-9050 to schedule an appointment or fill out our Contact Form. We are located in Palm City, Florida, and serve clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter.

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