What a Fiduciary Does and Why Your Parents Need One

April 2, 2018 0

We have all heard stories of elderly loved ones losing thousands at the hands of unscrupulous people. Or, meet families torn apart over disputes about “mom’s ring”. Someone has to manage the finances and property of the disabled or departed. That is where professional fiduciary services shine. Fiduciaries are licensed pros who are legally bound to put the needs of their clients above their own.

Conflict is a part of any family. But, conflict that occurs during an highly emotional time like a serious illness or death can leave lasting scars. Using professional fiduciary services offers some very real benefits.

Fiduciary Services Serve as an Impartial Third Party

While you may be a whiz at managing your own life and money, there is a steep learning curve to managing the life and finances of another. When you manage another person’s personal business a lot of legal and ethical considerations appear. Inexperienced trustee’s and POA’s might feel overwhelmed by the time consumption of these roles. The pressure rarely lets up as the level of care increases and after a person passes significant work still remains.

Fiduciaries are required by law to act in the client’s best interest. Because they are licensed professionals, and have no interest in the inheritance, they administer assets according to the client’s wishes. Professional fiduciaries reduce the risk of conflict and legal disputes.

When your loved one begins to make plans about his final wishes, he may feel uncomfortable sharing intimate detail about personal finances and final wishes. A professional fiduciary can have these pointed discussions without the history of conflict and expectation family members may have.

Fiduciaries are Skilled at Managing Finances

According to Bryan Fiorito, fiduciary at Exclusive Estate Administration, “Great certified licensed professional fiduciaries have great systems in place to ensure client’s interests are protected. Because asset inventory is so important, the best companies will use a third party to create detailed asset reports.”

You can image the chance for abuse when the same person inventories, manages, and accounts for assets. Great fiduciaries focus on creating accountability.

Fiduciary services often include bill pay and trust and estate administration. These duties can get complex. Choosing a licensed, insured, and bonded fiduciary offers more protection. You want someone experienced in trust administration. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to go to a first-time hairdresser or mechanic. You can see how education, license requirements, and experience make a big difference in asset and money management.

Help Lighten Care Responsibilities for Adult Children

Serving as a trustee and power of attorney can create the equivalent of a full-time job.  By naming a licensed fiduciary to serve in these roles, this removes the burden from your children.

When a fiduciary fills the management role, you can focus on quality time with your loved one. You can avoid sensitive subjects like finances, budgeting, driving restrictions, or selling of large assets like a house to afford assisted living/memory care.

Most fiduciaries are experienced with aging. They work with trusted companies to address any needs that arise. Fiduciaries take the spotlight off of one adult child appointed as the trustee and/or power of attorney. This simple transfer of responsibility from appointed adult child to professional fiduciary protects the family from additional conflict between siblings.

Fiduciaries Fulfill a Person’s Wishes After Death

A fiduciary, by law, is required to act in a client’s best interest.  It is her job to ensure her client’s wishes are carried out exactly as intended. Fiduciaries work with clients and their families to ensure there is a funeral pre-plan in place. And, they ensure the distribution of assets in accordance to the client’s wishes. Sometimes people wish to leave their legacy in different ways via charitable giving. Fiduciaries carry out the wishes of thier clients.

Fiduciaries Can Help Arrange Health Care

Sometimes people need someone to manage health care decisions. If you live out of the area, a fiduciary service ensures your loved one’s needs are meet without your travel and direct oversight during every event. Fiduciaries can enforce a person’s healthcare wishes including advanced directives. They can help arrange home care and health services as needed when appointed as conservator of the person or power of attorney. Fiduciaries often work with care managers to ensure optimum wellbeing of thier clients.

For more information about San Diego home care check out this article: San Diego Home Care – Everything You Need to Know.

Wrap Up

When you work with fiduciary services, you create a crisis prevention and management team. Fiduciaries offer guidance, legal protection, and expert support. They are especially important for people with complicated estates, health conditions, or little local support. Consider bringing a fiduciary onto your team.


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