Annual Guardianship Accountings
November 16, 2021
One requirement in serving as a guardian for a ward, particularly a guardian of the property, is the annual filing of an accounting. Annual guardianship accountings are required pursuant to Fla. Stat. 744.3678 and Fla. Prob. R. 5.695. The Rules also set forth the requirements for the contents of the guardianship accounting and provide a form for same as part of the Rules. Fla. Prob. R. 5.696. The accounting is to include all gains and losses, as well as all disbursements made from the guardianship account(s). All financial accounts for the guardianship are to be included in the guardianship accounting.
Once the accounting is filed, the guardianship court’s auditors conduct their careful and thorough review. This process may take a few months prior to the accounting being approved by the guardianship judge. In practice, as part of that approval process, it is not uncommon for the court’s auditors to inquire about particular transactions or requiring the submission of additional documents or backup information.
No disbursements or distributions from guardianship accounts can be made without a court order. Moreover, all guardianship accounts are required to be restricted depository accounts, which are typically titled in the name of the Guardian for the benefit of the Ward. In reviewing requests to make disbursements, distributions, or other expenditures from a guardianship account, the court will consider whether same is for the benefit of the ward.