The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the guardian (Mock) of the incapacitated person’s (Lillian’s) property should not have been ordered to pay a claim out of the guardianship estate after Lillian’s death. Only administrative expenses can be paid out of the guardianship estate:
Mock’s authority as the guardian of Lillian’s property expired with Lillian’s death (see Mental Hygiene Law § 81.36[a] …), “and the property in the guardianship account that remained after the fees of the guardianship were paid would normally have passed to her estate” (… see SCPA 103). Mental Hygiene Law § 81.44(e) allows a guardian to retain, “pending the settlement of the guardian’s final account, guardianship property equal in value to the claim for administrative costs, liens and debts.” The legislature intended to allow guardians “a reserve to cover reasonably anticipated administrative expenses,” but did not intend to allow guardians “to retain funds following the death of an incapacitated person for the purpose of paying a claim” … . Inasmuch as the $255,000 sought by the petitioner is unrelated to the administration of Lillian’s guardianship, Mock lacked the authority to make payment to the petitioner from the guardianship estate … . Accordingly, the Supreme Court erred in granting the petitioner’s cross motion and in directing Mock to pay the petitioner the sum of $255,000 from the guardianship estate. Matter of Lillian G. (Steven G.–Gary G.), 2022 NY Slip Op 05087, Second Dept 8-31-22
Practice Point: A guardian of an incapacitated person’s property may only pay administrative expenses from the guardianship estate after the incapacitated person’s death. Here the court should not have ordered payment of a claim unrelated to administrative expenses from the guardianship estate.