Your first question might be- "What is a 'fiduciary' and what do they do?"
Fiduciaries act under the law as a personal representative, advocate and legally responsible party for those individuals who have lost the ability to care for themselves including seniors, minors and the disabled. The elderly in our community are particulary vulnerable and a fiduciary can see to their physical as well as financial well-being.
Our role can vary according to the particular needs of our clients--for some who can no longer properly care for themselves such as the elderly, the Court may decide a Conservatorship to be the best option with the fiduciary acting as the Conservator. For the disabled individual, the fiduciary may be called to administer a Special Needs Trust. For minors, the Court might select a professional fiduciary to act as the legal Guardian of the minor under a Guardianship.
Fiduciaries can also act as Successor Trustees for living or family trusts. We can 'step in' when the settlors of the trust can no longer manage their affairs or when the settlor has died and the trust needs to be administered. Sometimes, a durable power of attorney for financial needs or health care might be the best course of action to meet the client's specific needs.
Regardless of the role, our main focus is on the client and their needs. Our goal is to maintain the clients quality of life, with respect, dignity and honesty.
In California, fiduciaries are licensed by the state, and must take and pass a rigorous state and national examination after completion of educational courses to meet the state requirements. California Licensed Professional Fiduciaries must also complete 15 hours of continuing education each and every year-- (more than a lawyer.) They are competent, highly educated individuals who act as a voice on behalf of those vulnerable members of our community such as seniors, minors and those physically or mentally challenged who may no longer be able to care for themselves. We are accountable not only to our client but also to the State of California as well as the Superior Court of California.
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