The conservator is generally entitled to payment for services to the incapacitated adult as Court appointed conservator. The general standard is “reasonable compensation”. The order of the Circuit Court appointing the conservator may provide for the amount of compensation. If so, the Commissioner of Accounts will approve the compensation, provided it is paid in accordance with that order and that it is reasonable. Without a specific order, the final determination of reasonable compensation to the conservator is made by the Commissioner of Accounts.
Consolidated cases regarding fees allowable to Guardians and Conservators were heard in Fairfax County, Virginia, in which a decision of the Fairfax Circuit Court was entered on July 24, 2012 (Guardian/Conservator Fees Decision). This decision is very informative as to the factors to be considered and the analysis to be done by the Commissioner in the approval of fees for Guardians and Conservators, and it is suggested that you consult that decision if the fees requsted for a conservator exceed the “Guidelines For Fiduciary Compensation”. In all cases where a Guardian is requesting compensation, this decision should be reviewed and discussions held with the Commissioner to determine an acceptable commission to the Guardian and/or the Conservator.
Be aware that the same compensation rules applicable to decedents’ estates apply to conservatorships, and the employment of professionals to perform your fiduciary obligations ot preparing the inventory and accounts may result in a reduction in your entitlement to compensation. Please review the “Guidelines for Fiduciary Compensation”.
Commission may not be taken in advance of the services rendered and is generally taken on an annual basis after each year has ended. More frequent payment of commission is possible as long as payment is not made for services to be performed as conservator in the future.
In the absence of any guiding language in the order of appointment by the Henrico County Circuit Court, the Commissioner of Accounts for Henrico has adopted the Guidelines for Fiduciary Compensation established by the Standing Committee on Commissioners of Accounts.
Please be sure to consult the current schedule for compensation as periodically compensation schedules are modified. (Guidelines for Fiduciary Compensation)
Forfeiture of Compensation
If a conservator fails to fulfill the statutory or Court ordered obligations and in particular fails to timely file inventory and/or accounts as required by law with the Commissioner of Accounts, the Commissioner may deny compensation to the conservator. Therefore, the timely filing of the inventory and all accounts in a proper manner with the Commissioner of Accounts is important in preserving the conservator’s right to reasonable compensation.
Compensation to the Guardian of the Person of the Incapacitated
The guardian of the person of an incapacitated may also be entitled to compensation. The entitlement is described by statute as “reasonable compensation”. Since there is no standard of reasonableness for the award to a guardian, each request is reviewed individually by the Commissioner to determine reasonableness.
If compensation is desired by the guardian, written request should be made to the conservator with supporting documentation of the efforts of the guardian in caring for the personal needs of the incapacitated. The conservator should, if he/she deems compensation to the guardian to be appropriate, consult with the Commissioner on the amount of an award. This should initially be done by letter to the Commissioner, followed by a phone conversation between the conservator and the Commissioner.