Choosing A Fiduciary

When drafting estate planning documents with an attorney, many clients designate professional fiduciaries to serve. This may be because they do not have family and friends nearby or prefer not to burden them.  Frequently we hear the desire for selecting an independent fiduciary in order to avoid family jealousies or disputes between the survivors. Because the relationship is such a personal one, we encourage prospective clients to interview multiple fiduciaries before making a decision.

Unlike an institutional trust company, we are licensed individually in California. Therefore, the individual fiduciaries, not ConservaTrust, are named in estate planning documents.  Prospective clients have the opportunity to meet our team and select which fiduciaries would be best for them. Occasionally, we are asked to act as a co-trustee with a family member. Because of the liability involved, our policy is to only act as a co-trustee with the individual professionals in our office.

Ultimately, our job is to make the decisions our clients would make when they can no longer do so. As such, it is important to maintain an ongoing relationship and meet with clients periodically.  This allows us to stay current with the client’s wishes and expectations.

Designating the right fiduciary in estate planning documents should provide the peace of mind for clients to know that if anything happens, the safety net is in place to take care of them and/or their assets.