July 21, 2011

California Professional Fiduciary

When selecting a successor trustee, many clients are often unsure whether or not their friends or family members have the requisite skills to be a competent trustee. The list of duties that are imposed on a trustee are lengthy and challenging. For example, a trustee owes a beneficiary a duty of loyalty, accounting, impartiality, etc. If the trustee, makes a mistake there are severe consequences, including removal. In light of this, many clients ask if there are professionals who handle being a trustee. The answer is yes.

In California, a professional fiduciary is a licensed individual who has been trained to execute the duties of a trustee. A professional fiduciary can also serve as a conservator, guardian or agent under durable power of attorney for healthcare or finances. In order to become licensed, a professional fiduciary basically needs to take an educational course, and then pass an exam and background check. http://www.fiduciary.ca.gov/licensees/faq.shtml.

A listing of professional fiduciaries can be found on the Professional Fiduciary Association of California’s (PFAC) website at http://www.pfac-pro.org.

The compensation rates for a professional fiduciary are much lower than a corporate trustee but higher than a family member trustee. A range from $100 - $150 per hour for the services of a professional fiduciary would be reasonable.