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PROFESSIONAL FIDUCIARY MANAGEMENT OF YOUR ESTATE

IN LOS ANGELES & ORANGE COUNTY

"...allow independence and assure the greatest level of dignity, respect, and longevity..."

SERVICES WE OFFER

  • Estate Administration

  • Trust Administration

  • Special Needs

  • Conservator

  • Trustee

  • Agent under DPOA/AHCD

  • Personal Representative

  • Guardianship

  • Estate Planning (wills & trusts)

  • Living Wills

  • Durable Powers of Attorney

  • Conservatorship and Guardianship

  • Elder Abuse and Neglect

  • Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

  • Special Needs Trust

We offer legal services for Medically Complex and Disabled Individuals

The goal is to preserve the quality of life, independence, dignity, respect, and longevity in the least restrictive environment possible.

"Professional Fiduciary Services, Estate Administration, Special Needs Trust, Conservatorship, Trustee services, Agent Under DPOA, Personal Representative, Guardianship. Choosing independent, licensed, bonded, and insured fiduciary to handle estate matters will avoid conflict among the family members and assure the best possible outcomes for the client. We have extensive experience working with the disabled in various capacities in private homes, senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals."

Please call today and speak to an experienced, compassionate, and competent attorney. Review the attorney profile here

NURSE ATTORNEY EMAIL or CALL 949 336-2840


WHY HIRE A FIDUCIARY?

Families often disagree about the goals, decisions, and treatment that is required. The professional fiduciary can offer a neutral decision-making process and streamline the financial and personal affairs of the client.

WHAT IS A FIDUCIARY RELATIONSHIP?

"a legal obligation of one party to act in the best interest of another. The obligated party is typically a fiduciary, that is, someone entrusted with the care of money or property. Also called fiduciary obligation

Choosing independent, licensed, bonded, and insured fiduciary to handle estate matters will avoid conflict among the family members and assure the best possible outcomes for the client.

We have extensive experience working with the disabled in various capacities in private homes, senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PROFESSIONAL FIDUCIARIES

Q: What is a Professional Fiduciary?

A: Professional Fiduciaries are entrusted to provide financial and healthcare options that ensure their client’s dignity and peace of mind. They provide the experience, resources, and knowledge to oversee services like paying bills, legal, investment management, medical care, housing, and nutrition, among other things.

A: Professional Fiduciaries are licensed and regulated by the State of California and must follow a strict code of ethics. One must take courses required by the licensing bureau, pass a lengthy exam, attend continuing education, have a clean background check, and be bondable.

Additionally, they are strictly bound by the California Probate Code and ultimately answer to the Court even if the matter is not court-supervised. Professional Fiduciaries are ultimately responsible for the actions of anyone they hire to assist with managing a client’s needs such as investment companies or realtors. The Professional Fiduciary may be surcharged by the court for client losses resulting from improper management.

Q: Who do Professional Fiduciaries serve?

A: Professional Fiduciaries serve seniors, people with mental and physical disabilities, and children who do not have a family member with the skills or proximity to manage and protect their money and/or healthcare needs before and/or after they die, and who do not have the knowledge or ability to manage these affairs themselves.

Additionally, they manage Special Needs Trusts for developmentally and mentally disabled individuals and are also guardians of children.

A: For people with potentially difficult family dynamics, a Professional Fiduciary can serve as an independent third party to keep their clients safe and to protect their assets.

Q: Why would you use a Professional Fiduciary?

A: There are a number of different types of Professional Fiduciary relationships. Each comes with unique duties and responsibilities for the person who requires representation (usually known as the principal, ward or beneficiary).

A: There are many benefits to hiring a Professional Fiduciary. A Professional Fiduciary has the knowledge and resources to help manage an estate, financial affairs, and a special needs trust.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PROFESSIONAL FIDUCIARIES

One can have peace of mind that matters are being handled in a skilled and ethical way. Hiring a Professional Fiduciary can also help minimize family drama and preserve relationships among siblings and relatives.

Q: When should you use a Professional Fiduciary?

A: There are several common situations when someone may choose to hire a Professional Fiduciary. When doing advanced estate planning, a person with full mental capacity may name a private fiduciary to oversee health care or manage finances in the event of future incapacity. This may include naming the fiduciary as POA for finance, the power of attorney for an Advanced Healthcare Directive, and be named in trusts as the successor trustee who steps in after the person passes away

A: A Professional Fiduciary can oversee the health care and/or finances of someone with impaired mental capacity, such as an elder with Alzheimer’s that did not do advanced estate planning. Family members may agree on a Licensed Professional Fiduciary to act as a court-appointed conservator over their elder’s person and estate. And a Professional Fiduciary can be bonded where most family members cannot.

A: In the case where the elder named children as co-trustees in the event of incapacity, and the children disagree over the care and financial matters, they may choose to hire a Professional Fiduciary to take over in an oversight role, or a court may intervene and appoint a Professional Fiduciary. In blended families with children from different marriages, an elder may choose to name a Licensed Professional Fiduciary to ensure their wishes will be fulfilled after they are gone, knowing having a neutral person step in will aid with family harmony.

A: A Professional Fiduciary may be needed in situations of what is called “undue influence” where someone with significant financial resources needs the impartiality of a Professional Fiduciary to make decisions on his/her behalf because of evidence that family members (or an appointed agent) may misuse or take advantage of access to the person’s finances.

A: Professional Fiduciaries can also serve in the capacity of court-appointed probate administrators when no prior estate planning has been done, or when the decedent’s family members are out of the state or country, and as will other court-appointed positions, Licensed Professional Fiduciaries can be bonded as the court requires when family members cannot.

A: An elder or disabled person who would like to appoint a neutral individual to manage their healthcare and/or finances can name a Professional Fiduciary in their Power of Attorney documents. In instances where a senior has not named an agent to act on their behalf prior to becoming incapacitated, or in cases where an already appointed agent is misusing or abusing their position, guardianship (also known as conservatorship) proceedings can be brought to protect and assist the elder or disabled person.

A: A Professional Fiduciary is like the “captain of the ship”, making sure everything needed by the client is accomplished, from investing their assets to engaging a care manager to more closely monitor their health and wellbeing. This means a Professional Fiduciary also provides a broader, more personal relationship than a bank trust department (who may have a high turnover rate). The Licensed Professional Fiduciary is not just a “checkbook” but is involved with every aspect of their client’s life to assist with healthcare decisions and how and why the client spends their money.


IN THE NEWS.......FROM https://research.ceb.com/posts/california-supreme-court-rules-on-elements-of-proof-for-lps-conservatorships

California Supreme Court Establishes Elements of Proof for LPS Conservatorship

The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS Act) (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 5000 et seq.) governs conservatorships for the gravely disabled. These conservatorships, often called LPS conservatorships, can be initiated only by public officials, are for a limited duration, and are exclusively held for the small group of people who meet the definition of “gravely disabled.” Gravely disabled is defined under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5008(h) and 5350 as a condition in which a person, as a result of a mental health disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, is unable to provide for their basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter. The definition does not generally include people with major neurocognitive disorders who are better suited to a probate conservatorship with special powers.

Subjects of LPS conservatorships are usually placed under temporary, 30-day conservatorships prior to a full hearing on the matter, at which point they have a right to request a jury trial on the determination of grave disability. (See Welf. & Inst. Code, § 5350(d).)

In a recent case, Conservatorship of K.P. (2021) 11 Cal.5th 695, the California Supreme Court resolved an appellate split on the legal standard for establishing these conservatorships.

What Is “Probate”?

Probate means that there is a court case that deals with:

  • Deciding if a will exists and is valid;

  • Figuring out who are the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries;

  • Figuring out how much the decedent’s property is worth;

  • Taking care of the decedent’s financial responsibilities; and

  • Transferring the decedent’s property to the heirs or beneficiaries.

In a probate case, an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as a personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries (those who have the legal right to inherit), all under the supervision of the court. The entire case can take between 9 months to 1 ½ years, maybe even longer.


Administration for Community Living

https://www.acl.gov/

Adult Day Care

http://www.adultdaycare.org/

Adult Protective Services County Contact List (pdf)

http://hss.sbcounty.gov/daas/docs/APSListIntranet.pdf

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

http://www.aarp.org/

Assisted Living Facilities

http://www.assistedlivingfacilities.org/

California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform

http://www.canhr.org/

California Attorney General’s Office

http://oag.ca.gov/

California Senior Gateway

http://www.seniors.ca.gov/

California Senior Legal Hotline

https://lsnc.net/slh

(800) 222-1753

California Veterans Affairs

https://www.calvet.ca.gov/

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

http://www.homehealthcareagencies.com/

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/older-americans/additional-resources/

Consumer Justice Foundation

http://www.consumerjusticefoundation.com/

Department of Business Oversight - Seniors Against Investment Fraud

http://www.dbo.ca.gov/Consumers/Education_outreach/SAIF/Default.asp

Department of Insurance, Senior Information Center

http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0150-seniors/

Department of Social Services – Child Protective Services

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Reporting/Report-Abuse/Child-Protective-Services

Department of Social Services – In-Home Supportive Services

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/In-Home-Supportive-Services

Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN)

http://www.elderfinancialprotection.org/

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

https://ncea.acl.gov/

Medicare

http://www.medicare.gov


Home Health Care Agencies

http://www.homehealthcareagencies.com/

Inpatient Recovery Centers for Seniors

http://www.recovery.org/topics/find-the-best-inpatient-recovery-centers-for-seniors/

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

https://ncea.acl.gov/

Medicare

http://www.medicare.gov/

https://search.dca.ca.gov/

Skilled Nursing Facilities

http://www.skillednursingfacilities.org/

State BAR of California - Seniors & the Law — A Guide for Maturing Californians

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/Seniors.aspx

U.S. Administration on Aging connecting you to services for older adults and their families. You can also reach us at 1-800-677-1116.

http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

Resources for Persons with Special Needs:

Special Needs Resource Project

http://www.snrproject.com/

Department of Developmental Services

http://www.dds.ca.gov

Lifehouse - Community living, supported living, senior programs, independent living skills, intermediate care facilities

http://www.lifehouseagency.org

Special Needs Resource Group - Resources for children with special needs

http://www.specialneedsrg.com

Office of Developmental Primary Care: Department of Family and Community Medicine

http://developmentalmedicine.ucsf.edu/odpc/

State Council on Developmental Disabilities

http://www.scdd.ca.gov

PROCEDURES TO TRANSFER THE ESTATE

You may not need to go to probate court to obtain title to property belonging to a dead person. Figuring out if you have to go to probate court depends on many issues, like the amount of money involved, the type of property involved, and who is claiming the property.

One of the ways to decide if you can use a simplified procedure to transfer property is to figure out whether any of the assets have named beneficiaries. That means that the decedent, when alive, named one or more people as beneficiaries to receive the asset when they died. We listed some examples earlier, but here are some common ones:

  • Life insurance proceeds,

  • Retirement accounts, pensions, or annuities

  • Bank accounts

  • Property in a living trust

Another important way is to figure out how the property is owned (the type of title ownership). For example:

  • Was the property owned in joint tenancy? If so, the surviving owner gets the entire property.

  • Was the property community property with the right of survivorship? If so, the surviving spouse or partner would likely get the entire asset.

    • But, it can get complicated. If the asset was community property but there was no explicit right of survivorship, the decedent’s spouse or partner may get the decedent’s half, but it will depend on whether there is a will and the property was divided in other ways. It may also be necessary to make sure that the property is in fact community property and was not somehow changed to separate property through an agreement or in some other way. You may need to talk to a lawyer to sort out these questions.

  • Was the bank account owned by different people? Or was it to be transferred to one person upon death?

Benefits like social security survivor benefits or benefits as a dependent of a deceased veteran can usually be collected without probate court.

It can be difficult to figure out whether you can use a simplified informal process to transfer property. In addition to assets that already have a designated beneficiary (like a life insurance or a bank account), estates with a value of $166,250 or less may qualify for a non-formal probate case. Also, if you were married to, or in a registered domestic partnership with, the decedent, you may be able to follow a simple process to have your property rights determined. Click on the items below for more information on these situations.

If you have the legal right to inherit personal property, like money in a bank account or stocks, and the estate is worth $166,250 or less, you may NOT have to go to court. There is a simplified process you can use to transfer the property to your name. The value of the property is based on what it was worth on the date of death —not on what the property is worth now.

  • Keep in mind, this process CANNOT be used for real property, like a house or land. Talk to a lawyer for help to determine whether you may be able to use another simplified procedure to transfer real property.

To use the simplified process for transferring personal property:

First, figure out if the value of all the decedent’s property (the estate) is $166,250 or less. To do this:

Include:

  • All real and personal property.

  • All life insurance or retirement benefits that will be paid to the estate (but not any insurance or retirement benefits designated to be paid to some other person).

Do not include:

  • Cars, boats or mobile homes.

  • Real property outside of California.

  • Property held in trust, including a living trust.

  • Real or personal property that the person who died owned with someone else (joint tenancy).

  • Property (community, quasi-community, or separate) that passed directly to the surviving spouse or domestic partner.

  • Life insurance, death benefits or other assets not subject to probate that pass directly to the beneficiaries.

  • Unpaid salary or other compensation up to $16,625 owed to the person who died.

  • The debts or mortgages of the person who died. (You are not allowed to subtract the debts of the person who died.)

  • Bank accounts that are owned by multiple persons, including the person who died.



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All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or strategy. The information provided on this website presents opinions and examples and does not substitute for, nor does it constitute professional legal advice from an attorney. It is general in nature and may not apply to particular factual or legal circumstances. This information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon any information on this website without seeking professional counsel. Advocates expressly disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this informational website.