The Role of the Private Fiduciary

A fiduciary is a person who assumes responsibility for a position of trust. Professional fiduciaries protect the assets, interests and dignity of their clients. They should act as an advocate in safeguarding the client’s civil and legal rights by making decisions that maximize and protect the rights of the client, and allow for maximum independence and self-reliance. Private professional fiduciaries serve in a number of roles:

· As a Successor Trustee to carry out the terms of the client’s Trust document. A private fiduciary may be named as successor trustee as an alternative to a family member, friend or institution.

· As a Conservator who is legally appointed to manage the Conservatee’s estate and/or person when the individual is deemed by a court to be physically or mentally incapacitated.

· As a personal representative appointed by the Probate Court to serve as Executor if named in the will, or as Administrator if not named in the will, or if there is no will.

· As a Representative Payee designated by the Social Security Administration or other retirement plans to receive the income and pay the expenses of an incapacitated individual.

· As an Agent Under Power of Attorney for Financial Matters where the fiduciary conducts personal and financial business pursuant to the client’s written instructions.

· As an Agent under an Advance Health Care Directive, where the fiduciary acts as attorney-in-fact to make health-care decisions, including placement, medical, treatment and final burial arrangements.

Some private fiduciaries provide a range of other personalized services to individuals and families during unexpected life transitions including bill paying and personal financial management, healthcare administration, real property and household management and disposition, liaison with attorneys, CPA’s, bankers, investment advisors and others.

Recent Legislation Created Professional Fiduciaries Bureau

In 2006, the California Legislature passed and the Governor signed Senate Bill 1550 creating the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau to license and regulate private fiduciaries including conservators, guardians, trustees, and agents under durable powers of attorney as defined in the Professional Fiduciaries Act (Business and Professional Code Section 6500). Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, and Enrolled Agents are exempt from licensing. For licensing, applicants will be required to provide information including business and home contact information and disclosure of conviction, bankruptcy, and breaches of fiduciary duties, complete thirty (30) hours of pre-licensing education, submit fingerprints to the Department of Justice for a criminal background check, consent to a credit check for the application review process, agree to adhere to the Professional Fiduciaries Code of Ethics, sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury. Ongoing continuing education and detailed reporting will be required for annual license renewal. (Source: )

Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC)

PFAC is the professional association for private professional fiduciaries practicing in the State of California. It is an affiliate of the National Guardianship Association. Its purpose is to provide economic, social and political information and ongoing continuing education to promote minimum standards for private fiduciaries. Its members are dedicated to serving and protecting the best interests of those who have placed their trust in them by ensuring the highest standards of ethics and practice, establishing comprehensive statewide certification, maintaining high qualifications for membership, and requiring continuing education of its members. (Source:

The Eldercare Resource Team currently needs a professional fiduciary member. Please Contact Us if you’re qualified and interested.


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