Nevada Guardianships; Conservatorships; Trusts

Sec. § 159.344
Payment of attorney’s fees and costs incurred as result of representation by attorney in guardianship proceeding: Liability; petition for payment from guardianship estate; procedure upon filing petition.


1.

Any person, including, without limitation, a guardian or proposed guardian, who retains an attorney for the purposes of representing a party in a guardianship proceeding is personally liable for any attorney’s fees and costs incurred as a result of such representation.

2.

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 1 and except as otherwise provided in subsection 5 of NRS 159.183, a person who is personally liable for attorney’s fees and costs may petition the court for an order authorizing such attorney’s fees and costs to be paid from the estate of the protected person in accordance with this section. Any such attorney’s fees and costs must not be paid from the guardianship estate unless and until the court authorizes the payment pursuant to this section.

3.

When a person who intends to petition the court for payment of attorney’s fees and costs from the guardianship estate first appears in the guardianship proceeding, the person must file written notice of his or her intent to seek payment of attorney’s fees and costs from the guardianship estate. The written notice:

(a)

Must provide a general explanation of the compensation arrangement and how compensation will be computed;

(b)

Must include the hourly billing rates of all timekeepers, including, without limitation, attorneys, law clerks and paralegals;

(c)

Must provide a general explanation of the reasons why the services of the attorney are necessary to further the best interests of the protected person;

(d)

Must be served by the person on all persons entitled to notice pursuant to NRS 159.034 and 159.047; and

(e)

Is subject to approval by the court after a hearing.

4.

If written notice was filed and approved by the court pursuant to subsection 3, a person may file with the court a petition requesting payment of attorney’s fees and costs from the guardianship estate. Such a petition must include the following information:

(a)

A detailed statement as to the nature and extent of the services performed by the attorney;

(b)

An itemization of each task performed by the attorney, with reference to the time spent on each task in an increment to the nearest one-tenth of an hour and with no minimum billing unit in excess of one-tenth of an hour;

(c)

An indication of whether any time billed, including, without limitation, any time spent traveling or waiting, benefited any clients of the attorney other than the protected person and, if so, how many other clients benefited from such time; and

(d)

Any other information considered relevant to a determination of whether attorney’s fees are just, reasonable and necessary.
Ê Absent approval from all parties who have appeared in the proceeding, any supplemental requests for the payment of attorney’s fees and costs cannot be augmented in open court and must be properly noticed in the same manner as the underlying petition requesting payment.

5.

In determining whether attorney’s fees are just, reasonable and necessary, the court may consider all the following factors:

(a)

The written notice approved by the court pursuant to subsection 3.

(b)

Whether the services conferred any actual benefit upon the protected person or attempted to advance the best interests of the protected person.

(c)

The qualities of the attorney, including, without limitation, his or her ability, training, education, experience, professional standing and skill.

(d)

The character of the work performed, including, without limitation, the difficulty, intricacy and importance of the work, the time and skill required to complete the work, the responsibility imposed and the nature of the proceedings.

(e)

The work actually performed by the attorney, including, without limitation, the skill, time and attention given to the work.

(f)

The result of the work, including, without limitation, whether the attorney was successful and any benefits that were derived.

(g)

The usual and customary fees charged in the relevant professional communities for each task performed, regardless of who actually performed the task. The court may only award:

(1)

Compensation at an attorney rate for time spent performing services that require an attorney;

(2)

Compensation at a paralegal rate for time spent performing paralegal services;

(3)

Compensation at a fiduciary rate for time spent performing fiduciary services; and

(4)

No compensation for time spent performing secretarial or clerical services.

(h)

The appropriate apportionment among multiple clients of any billed time that benefited multiple clients of the attorney.

(i)

The extent to which the services were provided in a reasonable, efficient and cost-effective manner, including, without limitation, whether there was appropriate and prudent delegation of services to others.

(j)

The ability of the estate of the protected person to pay, including, without limitation:

(1)

The value of the estate;

(2)

The nature, extent and liquidity of the assets of the estate;

(3)

The disposable net income of the estate;

(4)

The anticipated future needs of the protected person; and

(5)

Any other foreseeable expenses.

(k)

The efforts made by the person and attorney to reduce and minimize any issues.

(l)

Any actions by the person or attorney that unnecessarily expanded issues or delayed or hindered the efficient administration of the estate.

(m)

Whether any actions taken by the person or attorney were taken for the purpose of advancing or protecting the interests of the person as opposed to the interests of the protected person.

(n)

Any other factor that is relevant in determining whether attorney’s fees are just, reasonable and necessary, including, without limitation, any other factor that is relevant in determining whether the person was acting in good faith and was actually pursuing the best interests of the protected person.

6.

The court shall not approve compensation for an attorney for:

(a)

Time spent on internal business activities of the attorney, including, without limitation, clerical or secretarial support; or

(b)

Time reported as a total amount of time spent on multiple tasks, rather than an itemization of the time spent on each task.

7.

Any fees paid by a third party, including, without limitation, a trust of which the estate is a beneficiary, must be disclosed to and approved by the court.

8.

In addition to any payment provided to a person pursuant to this section for the services of an attorney, a person may receive payment for ordinary costs and expenses incurred in the scope of the attorney’s representation.

9.

If two or more parties in a guardianship proceeding file competing petitions for the appointment of a guardian or otherwise litigate any contested issue in the guardianship proceeding, only the prevailing party may petition the court for payment of attorney’s fees and costs from the guardianship estate pursuant to this section. If the court determines that there is no prevailing party, the court may authorize a portion of each party’s attorney’s fees and costs to be paid from the guardianship estate if the court determines that such fees and costs are just, reasonable and necessary given the nature of any issues in dispute.

10.

If an attorney is appointed by the court in a guardianship proceeding, he or she may petition the court for compensation for his or her services from the guardianship estate in accordance with the procedure set forth in this section.
Source

Last accessed
Feb. 5, 2021