Questions to Ask
What is a Fiduciary?
A fiduciary is a person or entity that is in a position of trust and faithfulness to another.A fiduciary relationship can be created with a formal contract, a court appointment, or by merely offering to assist someone.
Many states have special courts, called Probate or Surrogate courts, that deal almost exclusively with the appointment and supervision of fiduciaries.In these courts, the common names for these fiduciaries are as follows:
A competent adult can sign documents that nominate or appoint an ‘agent’ to make decisions for him or her. These documents are called ‘Power of Attorney’ or ‘Health Care Directive.’
What is a California LPF?
A California Licensed Professional Fiduciary is a person who has successfully completed educational and testing requirements as mandated by the California Department Consumer Affairs Fiduciary Bureau. The designation of fiduciary includes, but is not limited to: Conservator, guardian, executor, trustee, and administrator of a decedent’s estate.
A license is now required for any person who acts as a fiduciary for three or more people who are unrelated to them.
As stated on the Fiduciary Bureau’s website:
“Professional fiduciaries provide critical services to seniors, persons with disabilities, and children. They manage matters for clients including daily care, housing, and medical needs, and offer financial management services ranging from basic bill paying to the estate and investment management. Requirements for licensing include passing an examination and completing thirty (30) hours of approved education courses.”
What is the California Fiduciary Bureau?
This is the group of individuals who are hired by the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs to issue licenses and monitor compliance with the rules and regulations known as the California Business and Professions Code. Here is a link to their website so that you can learn more about this governmental agency:
What is the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC)?
This is an organization that is primarily made up of California Licensed Professional Fiduciaries for the purpose of education, training, and access to issues that are of concern to the members. Membership in this organization is voluntary, so licensees are not required to participate. Access to PFAC, however, means access to educational programs, discounts by vendors, and an informal mentorship. Here is a link to their website so that you can learn more about this organization:
Should I name a California Fiduciary in my estate plan?
One of the reasons we have put all of this information together is to allow estate planning attorneys to educate their clients about the professional fiduciary industry in general and to facilitate a discussion about including a Licensed Professional Fiduciary in estate planning.
One of the primary motivations for creating this particular website is to keep people out of probate court, as much as possible. There are far too many situations where estate plans fail because of the failure to make smart, well-thought-out decisions regarding “who” should be named as executor or trustee. If this website can keep one or two families a year out of probate court, then it has performed a valuable service, but the real goal is to keep hundreds of families, elders, children and developmentally disabled people out of probate court.
Do California Licensed Professional Fiduciaries pay to be on this website?
No…No one can buy their way in nor opt their way out. Some fiduciaries may choose not to participate in terms of providing photographs, areas of expertise or hourly rates. But all licensees who are located within the State of California will have the option of claiming their page, providing information about their areas of expertise and expand the amount of contact information they wish to share. We hope that licensees will add languages to their profile, or skills that they have to better serve the community.
What do we do?
We are the only entity that gathers data on California LPF’s and makes it easy to find these people based on location. We are both a directory, providing names addresses and telephone numbers, as well as a vetting system.
What problem do we solve for our clients?
Many different problems can be potentially solved, depending on the need: For some people, this website will teach them about an entire industry of professionals who are available to assist them as they age. Many people do not plan for incapacity because they have “no one” in their lives to assist them. This website will help them find people who are trained to make decisions for frail elderly people. Some people will save their children hundreds of thousands of dollars simply by choosing an independent decision-maker rather than leave their fighting children in charge. Estate planners can find solutions for the childless couple who don’t want to be a burden on their families.
Do clients even know it’s a problem?
People will often avoid estate planning altogether because they have no one to name as their trustee or executor. This is very common, and the very reason why the California Statutory Health Care Directive makes naming an “agent” optional.
How has that problem been solved before we came along?
Most of the time, professional fiduciaries are not asked to be involved until there is a contest or full-blown litigation already underway. Or, the public guardian is appointed because they have priority to be appointed as fiduciaries when no friends or families can be found. In the instances when a fiduciary is considered as part of an estate plan, only “word of mouth” is available and that is a gamble.
We offer a better solution.
Cal-LPF provides consumers with information about fiduciary licensees who are local to them as well as contact information for these fiduciaries. In addition, Cal-LPF allows attorneys to have a mechanism to provide feedback and ratings for licensed fiduciaries. This will help consumers to avoid hiring “the wrong fiduciary” – someone who does not have the specialized skills necessary for their case.
What qualifies us better than others to provide a solution?
Cal-LPF is the only place in California that provides peer rated feedback and comprehensive contact information.
What prompted us to come up with this Cal-LPF?
The founder Lisa MacCarley, is a practicing attorney specializing in probate law. She has seen, first hand, the nightmare that life becomes when you family wealth or loved one is in the hands of the wrong California Licensed Professional Fiduciary. The focus for Cal-LPF is to help people avoid the expense, frustration, and anger that comes from dealing with the wrong Licensed Professional Fiduciary. We want to save you money by providing access to a great number of potential professional candidates possible.
Are there alternate solutions?
You could ask friends, family or strangers, perhaps even yelp, but Cal-LPF is the only website you can find ratings and feedback. Most consumers don’t even know that California Licensed Professional Fiduciaries exist.
Define the client?
Elder, parent, lawyer, mediator, attorney, child, developmentally disabled, wealthy, alone.
Is there a downside to using us?
No, its free.
How will their lives be better after using Cal-LPF?
Clients, Attorneys, and Fiduciaries all benefit from being able to find the right, most highly rate person for what can be a very delicate and stressful project.
Attorneys benefit by finding the right Licensed Fiduciary to help prepare clients for aging and incapacity with dignity. They can select a fiduciary and learn something about him or her in advance of committing thousands of dollars to this highly personal engagement. Attorneys can make recommendations to their clients to place their money or loved ones in the hands of a competent professional and not an unqualified son, daughter, aunt, uncle or stranger. Together the attorney and the California Licensed Professional Fiduciary can keep the client’s estates intact. Client’s can feel at ease as they may get sicker and feel confident they can live with dignity. Clients can avoid court, and the heartache of watching their parent being neglected.