What Is a Professional Fiduciary and How to Know If You Need One
by Sara A. Henry, Attorney at Law
You are preparing estate planning documents (a Trust, Will and Health Care Documents) and your lawyer asks you who you want to name to the crucial positions of Executor, Guardian, Conservator and/or Trustee. Your lawyer explains the substantial importance of these positions to you.
1. This person must be trustworthy as they will be managing the finances for either you or your loved ones after your death.
2. This person must be unbiased and be able to carry out your wishes, not their own.
3. This person must be able to devote a substantial amount of time to the management of your affairs as there is much work that is needed after their appointment.
You draw a blank. You do not know anyone that has the time to set aside their own lives for a substantial period of time in order to take over management of your affairs. You don’t have someone that is sophisticated enough to handle your financial affairs. You don’t have anyone that can be unbiased. If you name a single family member will they be strong enough to stand up to the pressure of other family members’ demands and ensure that your wishes are carried out? If you name multiple family members (i.e. as Co-Executors) will they get along and work well together or instead will they fight over their own interests? You do not want your affairs to wind up in court litigation.
As our population ages the need for professional fiduciaries is increasing. Many factors contribute to the need for individuals to retain a professional fiduciary. The effects of not having an appropriate person to serve, mental/physical disabilities and illness, beneficiary/family conflicts and senior exploitation are only a few of the reasons why people may need to utilize professional fiduciary services. A “professional fiduciary” is an individual who is entrusted with your property or finances. The fiduciary’s sole objective is to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
In CA, professional fiduciaries are regulated by the State and must be highly trained and educated. I have been an estate planning attorney for 20 years and with this specialized legal background, I am now pleased to also offer professional fiduciary services to the public. If you or someone you know would like further information about the services I offer, please feel free to contact me.
Feel free to check out my website at www.VintageLawyer.com for more information on services and fees.
SARA A. HENRY
Attorney at Law/Professional Fiduciary
1607 Mission Drive, Suite 113
P.O. Box 704
Solvang, CA 93464-0704
Telephone: (805) 693-9100
*Also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court