Reid v. Guardianship of Reid
Reid v. Guardianship of Reid, 277 So.3d 1053 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019)
It is well established that under Florida law, the most important aspect of guardianship law is the protection of the ward. This basic philosophy must be taken into consideration in all aspects of guardianship administration, including awards of attorney's fees. Accordingly, F.S. 744.108(2) provides the criteria that a court must consider in determining reasonable attorneys' fees in guardianship proceedings. The list of criteria includes the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required, the fee customarily charged, and the nature and value of the incapacitated person's property.
Here, in determining a reasonable award of attorney's fees for an appellate lawyer in a guardianship proceeding, the trial court did not consider the nature and value of the guardianship assets (there were none). The Court held that by approving the reasonableness of the fees, regardless of the ability of the guardianship to pay the fees and provide the basic care of the ward, "the protection of the ward may have taken a back seat to the attorney's compensation in violation of the public policy of the guardianship law."