Living Trust: Acting as trustee or successor trustee, Mendocino Fiduciary will work with living trusts. We will carry out the management and investment of the trust assets following Trust terms and the UIA in the CA Probate Code, while considering the needs of the beneficiaries. Following the death of one or both settlors/trustors/grantors, the process of trust administration occurs. Whether you are a professional fiduciary or a family member or friend, administering a trust has many activities that need to be done before the estate can be distributed. Administration includes notifying the beneficiaries, dealing with real property, gathering all other assets, paying debts and taxes, do an accounting, and lastly, distribution of remaining trust assets. The length of time to administer a trust depends on the size of the estate, the successor trustee knowledge of all estate assets, cooperation of the beneficiaries, and how complicated the trust is. We strive to finish the trust activities in a timely manner.
Proper administration protects the estate and gives you confidence and peace of mind that the estate will be dealt with correctly. Informing whomever you choose about your estate and your wishes, showing them the legal documents and informing them about what to do with your personal effects/belongings will ensure the estate will be done well and in a timely fashion.
Special Needs Trust: A SNT is a trust created to provide a person with a disability access to assets that will not jeopardize their needs-based public benefits. An attorney is needed to set this type of trust up. Mendocino Fiduciary can act as trustee; following the terms of the trust, making disbursements to the beneficiary, paying close attention to the rules and regulations, advocating for the beneficiary and managing the assets following the Prudent Investor Rule or other investment standards.
Probate and Estate Administration
When a person dies with a will, the estate goes through probate. This is a legal process overseen by the court. The court validates the will and grants responsibility to the executor. Mendocino Fiduciary can act as executor. The executor will then notify creditors and beneficiaries, pay taxes, carry out the wishes of the deceased, deal with lawsuits, sell or dispose of assets, pay bills, provide financial information to the attorney for the final accounting and disperse the estate assets to the beneficiaries. A probate can take 6 months to many years to complete. A licensed fiduciary has the knowledge and resources to manage the probate in a thorough and competent manner.
The court appoints and oversees a Conservator of the Person and/or Estate when a person has lost the capacity to take care of the normal activities of their lives. This includes personal care, medical and financial responsibilities. There are different kinds of conservatorships depending the needs of the individual. A conservatee could be an elder or a younger person with temporary or permanent disabilities. Mendocino Fiduciary can serve as a conservator of the Person and/or the Estate and support the person to live the best life possible. The job is to protect and manage the personal care and finances of the individual. Activities a conservator can do are dependent on the needs of the person and the courts instructions. A care plan would be put in place and an annual accounting submitted to the courts.
Power of Attorney for Financial Matters
If you are deemed incapacitated due to an accident, illness or aging, having someone to act on your behalf and making important decisions, can be a blessing for your family. This person is called an “agent” or “attorney in fact”. There are different kinds of powers of attorneys and an attorney can explain the differences. Being deemed incapacitated is usually the cause for a POA to go into effect. Your agent has whatever powers you give them. These powers range from specific to broad. Authority could includes the following activities: paying your bills and those of your family, sorting your mail, managing your investments and retirement accounts, depositing checks, buying, selling, managing and maintaining real property, operating your business, handling transactions with banks and other financial institutions, and filing your tax returns. The agent acts in your best interest, maintains accurate records, keeps your property separate from his or her own, and avoids conflict of interest. If needed, your agent can hire professionals to help make decisions and their fees would be paid through your estate.
Power of Attorney for Health Care
A medical power of attorney, also called a durable power of attorney for health care or advance directive comes into effect when you are incapacitated and cannot make your own medical decisions. You will designate an “agent” or “health care proxy” to work with medical staff to follow your stated wishes. Communication with the agent is key to having your wishes followed, as well as getting copies of the document to your health care providers, agents, spiritual representatives and appropriate family members. You can name Mendocino Fiduciary as an agent.
Mendocino Fiduciary will act as a care manager supporting the individual in maintaining an optimal level of well-being and autonomy given their current circumstances. We use a collaborative approach to assess, plan, implement, facilitate and evaluate the options and services that would meet the individual’s health and personal needs, taking into account their interests and culture. Open, honest and direct communications are optimal to the success of these relationships.
Government Programs – When clients are eligible for public benefits, we will research which benefits they are eligible for, complete the applications, follow up and track progress. Programs included are SSI, SSDI, Medi-Cal and Medicare. We will also act as Representative Payee to ensure that the client’s benefits are properly used, records are kept accurately and communications are clear.