What is a Professional Fiduciary?

Nothing can prepare you for the experience of caring for a family member or friend in declining health. You may live far away, lack the appropriate skills, or be unprepared for the emotional burden of caring for another person.

A professional fiduciary can help you to ease that burden.

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

Services provided by professional fiduciaries may include banking, paying bills, daily care, housing, tax preparation and payment, and household maintenance and upkeep. Some services, such as insurance and medical needs, real estate and personal property, and asset distribution, may be managed by the professional fiduciary themselves, or they may hire other professionals to perform those duties.

The Professional Fiduciaries Bureau (PFB) protects consumers through licensing, education, and enforcement of the Professional Fiduciaries Act by promoting and upholding competency and ethical standards across the profession. If you’re considering hiring a professional fiduciary, PFB says you should interview at least three licensed professionals before making your choice. PFB’s guide, “What You Should Know Before Hiring A Professional Fiduciary,” includes questions to ask in the interviews. You can access the guide and check to make sure the professional fiduciary is licensed to operate in California at PFB’s website, https://fiduciary.ca.gov/consumers/index.shtml.

“Caring for a loved one in declining health can take a tremendous emotional toll,” said PFB Chief Rebecca May. “Our goal at the bureau is to help consumers make an informed decision when hiring a professional fiduciary.”

For more information, visit PFB’s website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov. Consumers can also reach PFB by phone at (916) 574-7340 or via e-mail to fiduciary@dca.ca.gov.

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