When an individual is no longer capable of caring for themselves, the County of Santa Clara can appoint a conservator to oversee their finances, estates, and other matters. However, those bills can amount to more than a hundred thousand dollars per year in the County, while other neighboring jurisdictions place stricter limits on the total and hourly bills.

The lack of stringent guidelines means that the businessmen who look after the elderly in Santa Clara County can routinely charge as much as $350 per hour for their services. One man is fighting a bill he received from his trustee for $108,771. That was for four and half months of work.

Part of the trouble stems from the layering of fees, where staff will not only bill for the work performed, but will also bill for administrative fees, and other services.

In San Francisco and Marin, however, allowable fees are based upon a dependent’s total worth. For instance, the annual fee charged for overseeing affairs cannot more than one percent of the total client assets. That tends to keep hourly fees to between $90 and $125.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

In California, elderly and disabled adults, blessed with some savings but incapable of caring for themselves, foot the bill when judges appoint private business people to manage their finances or daily affairs.

But when it comes to racking up those charges, no place in the Bay Area stands out like Santa Clara County.

An examination by this newspaper found that in Contra Costa, Alameda and Marin counties, court-appointed conservators wouldn’t get very far if they tried to charge the $330 maximum hourly rate that turns up on one San Jose professional estate manager’s rate schedule, or the $295 an hour described on a well-known Campbell conservator’s fee list. That’s more than double what other courts allow.

Read the full article here.