Providing care as a Professional Fiduciary is as much a calling as it is a career. Fiduciaries practicing in the state of California are required to be licensed by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. They may have had previous careers as attorneys, CPA’s, bankers, social workers, or healthcare providers. Many of our members joined PFAC after serving the business, care and personal needs of a family member or loved one. The responsibility is unique, essential, and, often noble in nature. A fiduciary’s role is not merely that of business manager, decision-maker, or guardian. It is also a nurturing bond of trust, concern, and attentive care-giving. A fiduciary seeks to support mental and emotional well-being; reduce the stress of changing circumstances or unexpected events; and, most importantly, help each client, and their families, enjoy a fulfilling life.
The person who is legally appointed to manage the Conservatee’s estate and/or person. A Conservatorship is a legal tool to provide management for the financial and/or personal affairs of individuals deemed by the court to be physically or mentally incapacitated. A Conservatee is a person who is the subject of a conservatorship. A Conservator of the Person is appointed by the court to assume responsibility for decisions regarding the health and welfare of a person. A person is determined by the court to be incapacitated when he or she lacks sufficient understanding or “capacity” to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her daily living needs. A Conservator of the Estate is responsible for the prudent use and protection of the conservatee’s assets. The conservator is responsible for inventorying, marshaling and managing all assets and benefits belonging to the Conservatee. The conservator receives income, pays obligations of the estate, applies for pensions, and organizes data for the preparation of income tax returns and other related duties.How is a Conservator appointed? Anyone who believes a person may need help with daily living activities and/or finances can initiate the process to appoint a fiduciary as a conservator. The concerned person may contact a fiduciary of choice to investigate the situation. If the fiduciary identifies sufficient need, he or she will retain an attorney to petition the probate court for appointment as conservator.
How is the Conservatee protected? The probate court often appoints an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person. A court investigator is also appointed by the court to determine the need for a conservator and to recommend a suitable person to serve in that role. All issues and information are brought before a probate court judge who decides if the person is incapacitated or in need of protection and, accordingly, appoints a conservator. The appointed fiduciary is accountable to the court for his or her work. The fiduciary must report to the court and receive the court’s approval in carrying out his or her responsibilities. The court requires the posting of a surety bond by the conservator, which is intended to protect the assets of the conservatee’s estate.
Professional fiduciaries are governed by state statute. Each California county has a Probate Court as part of its Superior Court System. Courts may appoint a PFAC member fiduciary as a neutral third party to protect vulnerable and incapacitated people from abuse, neglect and exploitation. PFAC members must abide by the PFAC Code of Conduct
Professional fiduciaries are licensed by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau under the State Department of Consumer Affairs. Check if the person you are speaking to is a licensed fiduciary and their status with the state.