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A person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another. A fiduciary must maintain a separate
account for each client and cannot co-mingle funds.
In the event a person is unable, or unwilling to make personal decisions relative to financial and health matters.
It can be a temporary or permanent circumstance. If for example an individual can't make financial decisions due to
a car accident, someone needs to be able to make sure that all of the financial obligations are met during this time.
If a friend asks you to be their fiduciary you legally can. But it is not easy and the legal requirements are not so simple if you are not
educated in this field. If you are going to do this as a business you must be licensed through the State of California-Professional
Fiduciaries Bureau. Having to deal with the beneficiaries of an estate can be exhausing. Due to the stress and anxiety this can
cause we highly recommend hiring a professional.
Absolutely. Planning ahead is so important. By naming a fiduciary that is not a family member, it takes the personal
issues out of it. I have had several occasions, where Mom dies, assigning her 2 daughters (that never got along) as joint
trustees. What happens after mom dies? CHAOS! Money changes people!. One daughter wants to sell everything,
the other wants to control it all. After 3 years and additional legal fees, the properties finally get sold and distributed.
If the trust had been set up properly and hiring a non-family member as a trustee, this would not have happened. A
fiduciary would have followed the instructions of the trust / will and the drama and delays would have been prevented.
When hiring a licensed Fiduciary, there is government over site. There are strict regulations as to what a Fiduciary can
and cannot do. The training a Fiduciary must go through is clear and concise. If there is any impropriety, a fiduciary
can loose their license.
If you do not have an estate plan in place or it is out of date, you need to take care of it right away. Once you are
diagnosed with dimentia, you will no longer be able to sign legal documents. you will be forced into a conservatorship
where the courts make the decisions for you. A professional Fiduciary will follow your written requests.
Yes, a Fiduciary will handle all of your financial affairs when you are incapacitated, even if it is for a short while. Also naming the
Fiduciary as the Executor of the estate allows you to decide where you want your money to go. For example you want to donate to
certain charities. If you have no estate plan, then when you pass, your estate is considered intestate and the state will get the money
and use it to however the state wants to.
If your entire estate is under $150,000, you will not be subject to probate. Also a living trust may not be necessary. You should write
a will designating how you want your estate distributed. A will can be hand written. We recommend that it be typed and witnessed
by 2 individuals that are not beneficiaries. Keep the will in a safe place and let the primary beneficiary know where it is located.
I am assuming that you are not sure who is the executor of the estate. You need to find out if there was a family attorney. Even if that
attorney did not draft the documents, he/she may know who did. Look for the estate plan documents. Ask family members if they
know who the Executor is and where the documents are. If all else fails, you can contact the County Bar Association and they will send
out an email to all attorneys asking if anyone is familiar with the estate of your family member.
Without an estate plan designating a guardianship and possibly a Special Needs Trust, the child will be subject to the controls of the
county guardian. Unless you spell out what you want for your child, the decisions made will most likely be made based on financial
not what is best for your child.
Usually I recommend NO. There is the rare occassion that both siblings get along very well and their spouses do as well. But honestly
I have only seen this once. When there is money involved, many times the spouse creates a problem such as "You did so much more
for your mother, you should get more from the estate." This only causes more problems. Let a Professional Fiduciary be the Executor
of the estate. That way they will follow what the wishes are based on the documents. No family blaming, etc.