Many people may not realize how important professional fiduciaries are until they need them. Professional fiduciaries are independent third parties who provide critical services to seniors, persons with disabilities, and children. They manage matters for clients that can include daily care, housing, and medical needs. They also offer financial management services. These services can range from basic bill paying, to estate and investment management.
Having to care for an incapacitated family member or close friend can be an emotional and daunting experience. However, hiring a professional fiduciary can help alleviate some of the distress. A professional fiduciary can be hired to handle a client’s estate and other affairs while the client is alive and can continue in this role after their client has lost decision-making capacity or passes away.
The Department of Consumer Affairs Professional Fiduciaries Bureau was established in 2006 to help protect and safeguard consumers through licensing, education and enforcement of the Professional Fiduciaries Act which ensures that ethical standards are maintained throughout the industry.
The Bureau’s online guide, “What You Should Know Before Hiring A Professional Fiduciary” provides consumers with a list of questions that will be helpful when choosing a professional fiduciary. You can download it here: https://fiduciary.ca.gov/forms_pubs/hire_fiduciary.pdf
In addition, The Bureau recommends interviewing at least three licensed professional fiduciaries before making a final hiring decision. The Bureau also suggests asking a potential professional fiduciary questions such as what services they provide, what credentials they hold, and what types of insurance they hold.
It is also a good idea to have an alternate fiduciary just in case your first choice changes their mind or is no longer available at the time services are needed.
When you’re ready to hire a professional fiduciary, be sure that they have a valid license to operate in California. You can check the status of their license at: https://fiduciary.ca.gov/consumers/index.shtml
For more information, visit PFB’s website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov Consumers can also reach the Bureau by phone at (916) 574-7340.
Please note: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the PFB office building is closed to the public until further notice. The office is open for employees, but you may experience some delays in reaching staff. In the meantime, consumers can e-mail any questions to: www.fiduciary.ca.gov.