Archive for the ‘Guardianship fees’ Category

Judge David Randy Kennedy’s written response to The Tennessean’s questions

February 22, 2013

The following are excerpts from written answers given by 7th Circuit Court Judge David Randy Kennedy to questions by The Tennessean.

Question: I did note that following complaints from Joe Haynes, you reduced her requested fee in the case of Nora Roberts ((09p923) … Have you reduced her fee requests in any other cases?

“With respect to Ms. Roberts case, 09P923, I determined that it was appropriate to reduce the amount of Ms. Stuart’s fee. The Order entered November 20, 2009 reflects a fee of $22,796.25 whereas the Motion was for $29,396.26, for a reduction of $6,600.01. While I recall this as being a contested case relative to who should be appointed, as you are aware the hearing on this particular Motion occurred more than three years ago, and I just do not have any independent memory of the specific arguments presented by counsel. Clearly, there was an objection to the amount and I was appropriately persuaded to reduce the fees as indicated. The establishment of fees and compensation is within the discretion of the trial Court. Case law requires the Court to examine a wide range of facts including a determination as to whether the amount being sought by the fiduciary or attorney is reasonable and necessary, whether the service benefitted the ward or his estate, and if the service did not ultimately benefit the estate, whether it was intended to benefit the ward or his estate. In cases where the amount of the ward’s assets or income is extremely limited, there are occasions where the court either denies or reduces fees on the basis of fairness and equity. If an objection is filed to a Motion for fees, the court is obligated to examine the objection and to take evidence in conformity with the Local Rules and Rules of Evidence to determine whether the objection is valid.

“It is certainly possible that I have reduced her fees in other cases, as I have with respect to other fiduciaries and attorneys. However, I have never made a finding of malfeasance on her part and have never been presented with any evidence that would support such a determination. Rarely, in the years that Ms. Stuart has served as Public Guardian have I received any objection to her fees. The job of Public Guardian is enormously challenging and frequently requires much more direct human interaction, as well as explosive family conflicts than one might expect.”

Full Article & Source:
Judge David Randy Kennedy’s written response to The Tennessean’s questions

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Jeanan Mills Stuart’s written responses to The Tennessean’s questions

February 21, 2013

These are excerpts from Jeanan Mills Stuart’s written response to The Tennessean.

“I think it is a good idea to give you a general description of my job as the Public Guardian for Davidson County. The Probate Court Judge nominates the Public Guardian and the nomination is confirmed by the City Council. I am not paid a salary for being the Public Guardian by Davidson County. I am provided with a security badge that gets me past the security checkpoint at the Courthouse. I am provided access to Caselink, an online database of Circuit Court filings. The premium on my blanket surety bond is paid for by Davidson County. In exchange, I am the default person selected as guardian or conservator where there is no other party found by the Probate Court Judge to be appropriate or willing to take on the task. I am obligated to provide all the care needed by my wards regardless of the ability of the conservatorship estate to pay my fees, and I am on call 24 hours per day. As a matter of law, I cannot delegate certain of my duties to another person.”

Question: What is your current hourly rate for the public guardian/conservator cases? Is it $225?

“Yes.

“Judge (Randy) Kennedy is well-aware that I am a lawyer. I am also a nationally certified guardian, a member of several associations of guardians, and an officer in one of them, I receive annual continuing education as both a lawyer and a guardian. As a condition of my service as public guardian, I must accept all appointments from Judge Kennedy, absent conflicts of interest, and even where the ward is unable to pay my fees or reasonable expense. I am on call 24 hours a day per day and cannot legally delegate many of my duties. My customary fees are at an hourly rate below the highest rates charged in Davidson County, Tennessee, for lawyers who also serve as conservators or who represent non-lawyer conservators. All of my fees and expenses are subject to the approval of the Probate Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, and may only be paid after the Court’s approval, regardless of the ability of the ward to pay them. In addition, my fees and expense, as well as my bank statements, receipts and cancelled checks are examined, where applicable, by the Bureau of TennCare/Medicaid of the State of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and the Social Security Administration. I am also subject to random and surprise audits by the Social Security Administration. Accordingly, all my time and labor, which could otherwise be available for me to be retained as a lawyer for other clients, is obligated to the wards of the Seventh Circuit Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, and my hourly rate is based on the foregoing. Lawyers may be appointed by criminal courts to represent indigent criminal defendants and may never be compensated for their labor or expenses. I have agreed to such a condition regarding conservatorships in Davidson County, Tennessee.”

Question: Do you handle any other cases besides those assigned by Judge Kennedy? If so, what is your rate in those cases?

“I do not, as a rule, have any. I have one private case. It does not require much work. Other than that, I have not accepted any private cases in the last three years because there is simply not enough time to handle them.”

Full Article & Source:
Jeanan Mills Stuart’s written responses to The Tennessean’s questions

How public guardian’s fees added up to $13,726 in 6 months

February 20, 2013


Jeanan Mills Stuart was approved to collect $13,726 in the case of one of her wards over six months of work. The information below, based on a fee affidavit filed in court, show how costs add up for telephone calls, reviewing bank statements and receiving and making short calls on behalf of her ward.

She billed for 69.6 hours of work at $197.22 per hour.

9/30/11

$295.83 — Trip to nursing home to check on client, 1.5 hours

$19.72 — Telephone call re therapy, 0.1 hours

10/2/11

$19.72 — Review bank statement, 0.1 hours

10/7/11

$59.16 — Compute cost to move ward and draft reimbursement letter, 0.3 hours

$19.72 — Review ward’s bank statement, 0.1 hours

10/10/11

$59.16 — Review nursing home bills, telephone call to nursing home, draft letter, 0.3 hours

$19.72 — Telephone call from ward, 0.1 hours

Full Article & Source:
How public guardian’s fees added up to $13,726 in 6 months