A fiduciary is someone in whom you entrust your financial affairs.
Sometimes fiduciaries serve by court appointment or by personal agreement as trustees, representative payees, or agents under powers of attorney.
A fiduciary oversees a client’s financial affairs and/or personal care needs. As of Jan. 1, 2008, all professional fiduciaries in California are required to be licensed with the Professional Fiduciary Bureau.
Keen Home Care’s president, Machelle Thompson, is a licensed fiduciary, ready to assist you as needed.
Types of Fiduciary Services
Fiduciaries serve in four main capacities:
- Private trustee
- Power of attorney
- Other services
- Manage your estate and provide for your personal needs, including healthcare and housing, should you become unable to do so yourself
- Ensure that your trust is administered according to your instructions
- Assume the role of trustee, should a family member you named as the successor trustee be unable to carry out the duties put forth in your trust
Though most people designate a family member as their successor trustee of their irrevocable trust, a few circumstances may necessitate the appointment of an unrelated person:
- You do not have close family members or you believe that none have the skill, temperament, time, or willingness to effectively administer the trust.
- You do not want to create conflict among your family members.
Durable Power of Attorney for Financial and Personal Affairs (DPOA)
A critical component of an estate plan is a durable power of attorney for finance and healthcare.
Regardless of whether you create a trust or other estate document, you must establish an agent to support your healthcare wishes, should you be unable to speak for yourself — and you must do this while you are still of sound mind.
With a DPOA, your family will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. Your agent can access your accounts, pay your bills, and file your tax returns, thereby avoiding a costly court-appointed conservatorship or guardianship.
Advance Health Care Directives and HIPAA Authorizations
Advance Health Care Directives allow your agents to make important healthcare and end-of-life decisions for you when your doctor determines that you are no longer capable of making those decisions yourself.
You must sign the proper HIPAA authorizations to allow medical professionals to discuss your condition and treatment with your authorized agents.
When a court deems you are no longer competent in managing your financial and/or personal care affairs, it may appoint a conservator. Frequently, this person is a family member; however, in the absence of available and appropriate family, the court may appoint a private fiduciary to act as conservator of your finances, your person, or both.
Professional fiduciaries provide an array of other services:
- Advising layperson (family member) fiduciaries
- Personal representation for your Advanced Health Care Directive
- Executing your will
- Probate litigation support with expert testimony
- Comprehensive real estate services and oversight of your properties