Mar
25
2014

Consider Naming a Professional Fiduciary In Your Estate Planning Documents

When we prepare our estate planning documents, such as the Revocable Living Trust and Financial Durable Powers of Attorney, we typically name our spouses and then our children as our fiduciaries if we cannot act for ourselves. It would seem that the most common reason that would cause a fiduciary to act is the loss of mental capacity of the principal. For instance, in the case of a Revocable Living Trust for a husband and wife, they will name each other as a co-trustees. If neither of them can act because of incapacity, the children who have been named as successor trustees, will step up to act as trustee. With a Financial Durable Power of attorney, the couple will typically name each other as attorney in fact, and if they cannot act for each other, the children who have been named as successor attorneys in fact, will step up to act.

Many of our clients however do not have a living spouse or children or even siblings who can be named as fiduciaries for them. In addition, statistics show that at lease a quarter of persons in the  age group of 80 years or older, have significant clinical cognitive impairment. These individuals will need a responsible fiduciary to help manage and preserve their assets for them, and to help ensure that they receive good care as they age.

So for people who really have no one to name as a fiduciary in their estate planning documents, we recommend naming a professional fiduciary. These individuals are licensed by the State of California Professional Fiduciaries Bureau.  A professional fiduciary as successor trustee of a revocable living trust for instance, will carry out the terms of the trust while you are alive, and then finish the trust administration when you die.  During your lifetime, the professional fiduciary as successor trustee under your trust, or as your attorney in fact under your financial power of attorney,  will manage your checking account, pay your bills and otherwise help to protect your assets. They will make sure that your assets are used for your care and that your assets are preserved and managed for as long as possible. Many older people are vulnerable to scammers and even family members who will try to take advantage of them, and take their money.

We can recommend several very good professional fiduciaries who you could consider naming as successor fiduciaries  in your estate planning documents.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

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