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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Alta Epstein was married to J. Michael Epstein’s father, Julius. Alta became the trustee of Julius’ testamentary trusts upon his death, and Michael sued her for wrongful acts. Alta was later declared incapacitated due to Alzheimer’s Disease. Michael then became the sole trustee of the trusts, and John Hutchinson was appointed guardian of Alta’s estate. Through various proceedings, the trial court ordered Michael to pay attorneys’ fees to Hutchinson for three different periods: 1. from July 1, 2001, to Oct. 8, 2001; 2. from Dec. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2002; and 3. from Oct. 2, 2001, to Oct. 2, 2002. The trial court made two orders for the second time period, and for the third time period, the payment to Hutchinson was to be in lieu of his commission as guardian. On appeal, Michael argues that the trial court’s attorneys’ fees orders was an abuse of discretion. He says the orders thwart Probate Code 665, which governs the compensation of guardians. HOLDING:Affirmed. At the start, the court points out that under the Probate Code, attorneys’ fees are considered to be a guardian’s expenses, not his compensation. Accordingly, reimbursement for those fees is not controlled by 665, but by 666. The court then refutes Michael’s argument that the Probate Code does not allow a guardian to be his own attorney for guardianship matters. The court finds no code provision that expressly prohibits such an arrangement. The ultimate safeguard that a trial court will approve only the reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees that a guardian incurs applies whether the guardian or a different person serves at the attorney for guardianship matters. The court also finds that the Probate Code allows a guardian to hire an attorney in connection with an estate’s management and treats any resulting attorneys’ fees as guardian’s expenses, subject to the trial court’s written approval for reimbursement. OPINION:Taft, J.; Taft, Jennings and Bland, JJ.

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