Professional Fiduciary Services Tampa Bay

Professional Fiduciary Services

"Proudly serving the fiduciary needs of individuals, families, and organizations"

Professional Fiduciary Services, LLC Fiduciary Services

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With family members living distant from one another and with families experiencing an increasing amount of pressure from medical, financial, or emotional issues, the need for objective 3rd parties is becoming more and more important. As a former Trust Officer and attorney I appreciate the fear and worry that is caused by the feeling of “not having anyone to trust.” Whether you are looking for someone to serve as Successor Trustee of your revocable living trust, as Personal Representative in your Will, as the Agent in your Power of Attorney, or if you just need someone to check in on your loved one to make sure their bills are being paid, I am confident I can help.

Always a Free Consultation or Personal Introduction: Before you decide to use my services as a Professional Fiduciary, I feel it is important that you or your loved one develop the necessary confidence and comfort that I am a good fit. I will always provide the opportunity to meet personally, or I will visit your loved one personally, to develop the necessary trust and connection to have a successful relationship going forward.

Below I have attempted to describe what the various roles and responsibilities are for a Fiduciary. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your situation further, please contact me.

What is a Fiduciary? Fiduciaries are either individuals or institutions (such as bank Trust Departments) designated in documents such as a Power of Attorney, Will, Health Care Designation, or Trust to serve in a trusted, confidential, and competent manner. Depending on the specific provisions of the document, a Fiduciary may be responsible for financial management, health-care decision making, asset protection, distributions, public benefit planning, tax and estate planning, and management of family dynamics. A Fiduciary must be proactive in anticipating issues or concerns and engage the appropriate professionals, when needed. A Fiduciary must be aware of the legal duties required in the document and provide accurate accounting and communication with the appropriate parties. A Fiduciary is held to the highest standard of care.

Serving as a Trustee: For the most part, Trusts are managed or administered outside court supervision (unlike guardianships or estate settlements) leaving the Trustee responsible for the appropriate management and administration of the Trust. Each Trust includes specific provisions that must be followed. This means that a Trustee, in addition to understanding the legal mandates within the Trust document itself, must be aware of the inherent fiduciary duties that are imposed on Trustees such as, the duty of confidentiality, the duty of loyalty, the duty to operate without conflict, and the duty to adhere to the “Prudent Investor” rule. In selecting a Trustee you must be mindful of that person’s ability to remain objective, adhere to fiduciary duties, be well organized, and have the integrity needed to supervise the investment strategy, legal, tax, and interpersonal issues that arise.

Serving as a Personal Representative or Executor: As many of you may have experienced, the settling of an estate can be an overwhelming, time consuming, and thankless task. At a time when a family is vulnerable to intense grief, emotional turmoil, and possible strife, it is immensely helpful to have an objective professional assist the family in executing the estate plan and preserving the family legacy. People typically select their Personal Representative based on that person’s closeness to them, or their position in the family as a whole. Unfortunately, the administration of the estate by that person can be so time consuming and intense that the close family relationships end up being permanently damaged. Naming an objective 3rd Party such as a Professional Fiduciary in that role, will relieve the family of having to deal with the stress of distribution of the estate according to the provisions of the Will, management of the family dynamics regarding personal property, tax allocations, and interaction with the estate attorney and probate administration.

Serving as Agent in a Power of Attorney: When I practiced law, I always told my clients that a Power of Attorney (POA) is one of the most important documents that you must include in your estate plan, and I still feel that way. In the unfortunate situation that you become incapacitated temporarily due to an accident, illness, or prolonged disability, you need to have “someone you trust” able to act on your behalf. Be aware that, just as in a Trust, the Agent in a Power of Attorney (POA) serves outside the supervision of the court system. This is an important consideration when naming an Agent because you must have the confidence in that person to adhere to their legal and fiduciary responsibilities. Recently, a new statute was enacted in Florida limiting who may serve as an Agent in a POA. The new statute also increases the requirement for maintaining records. If you do not have a POA, then a Guardianship proceeding must take place which is an expensive and stressful experience. I am able to serve as an Agent in a POA and am mindful of the broad and important authority delegated in the document.

Serving as a Guardian or Veteran Fiduciary: In the unfortunate situation when a guardianship proceeding must take place, it is very important to be aware of the strict legal requirements in which a Guardian must serve. Guardianship proceeding are in essence “litigation” and require the production of evidence and testimony. Attorneys must be engaged to represent the alleged incapacitated person, the petitioner, and the proposed guardian. Guardianships can be expensive and divisive to a family unit. However, there are times when they are unavoidable. The Guardian reports to the court and must provide accurate information about the care, financial management, and well being of the “ward.”

Here are examples of tasks we do for you as your Professional Fiduciary whether in a Power of Attorney, Trust, Guardianship, or other relationship:

  • Make bank deposits, withdrawals or other transactions
  • Review invoices
  • Pay bills
  • Book Keeping
  • Money management
  • Buy or sell property
  • Supervise care managers or care givers
  • Assist in the preparation and filing of tax returns
  • Arrange the distribution of retirement benefits
  • Negotiate and sign contracts
  • Provide regular accountings and reporting
  • Make personal visits and monitor needs
  • Engage necessary professionals such as attorneys, CPAs, or doctors

Fees: Our fees are generally based on an hourly fee schedule depending on the level of service and the needs of the client. In some cases, our fees are based on a percentage of the assets under management. Please contact us to discuss the appropriate fee arrangement that will work for you or your family.