What is a Professional Fiduciary?

New brochure provides the answers

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The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Professional Fiduciaries Bureau has created a new brochure which explains what a professional fiduciary is and describes the important services provided by these individuals.

According to Julia Ansel, bureau chief of the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau, many people don’t understand the duties and responsibilities of professional fiduciaries.

“The Bureau’s role is to license and regulate fiduciaries. Most consumers are unaware of what a professional fiduciary is, much less the important services they are able to provide their clients.  Given our aging population, it is vital that California consumers are aware of this profession,” Ansel said.

The Professional Fiduciaries Bureau protects consumers through licensing, education, and enforcement by ensuring the competency and ethical standards of professional fiduciaries.

A professional fiduciary is someone who takes care of the property or estate of another person or has power of attorney for them. Often, these duties are done by family members, but in California anyone who does this for a person they are not related to must be licensed with the state by the bureau.

Professional fiduciaries are neutral, objective parties who serve vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those who can no longer care for themselves. If a person becomes incapacitated or dies, the fiduciary can manage their estate. Sometimes professional fiduciaries serve independent, productive people who need assistance in making sound financial, health care and day-to-day decisions.

Services provided by professional fiduciaries include banking, paying bills, cash flow management, daily care, housing, estate management and administration, tax preparation and payment, and household maintenance and upkeep.

They can also manage services such as medical care, insurance needs, investments, real estate, personal property, public benefits and assets and distribution.

The bureau licenses different types of fiduciaries including trustee, guardian, conservator and agent under durable power of attorney.

Before hiring a professional fiduciary, it is important to verify that the person is licensed.

To verify a license, click here  or go to www.fiduciary.ca.gov and under Quick Hits, click on License Verification.

To learn more, check out the new professional fiduciary brochure here.

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