Ades – Hello! I’m Brian Ades and welcome to Prime Time. This is a City Watch series about getting older. In each episode, we’re going to introduce you to the experts who deal with the issues that Boomers and the generation before them face every day. I believe that in order to make good decisions you need to have good information, and that’s what this series will attempt to provide. In this segment, we have with us Ellie Page, a licensed Fiduciary in California and Vice President of the Southern region of PFAC – the Professional Fiduciary Association of California. Fiduciary seems to be the primary word that is coming up over and over again, that I’m reading about, I’m hearing – I hear people talk about a Fiduciary. Is it a regulated body, can you tell me a little bit about what it means and what is a fiduciary?
Ellie – I’m glad you asked because not that many people know what a fiduciary is all about. We are commonly referred to as conservators, trustees, estate administrators, power of attorney, guardians in real life. The public doesn’t quite know what a fiduciary is. Not long ago, as of Jan 1st 2008, we had formed a governing body up in Sacramento which is called Professional Fiduciary Bureau and we are part of the Department of Consumer Affairs. That is the regulatory body which governs the licensing of the professional Fiduciaries in California. In other words, that profession has been around forever, but official as professional fiduciaries we are being licensed and required to be licensed as of Jan 1st 2008.
Ades – Were there problems before, I think a lot of the misnomer about putting someone you love in someone else’s care, that they would be subject to, or vulnerable to, financial of physical abuse. Was that what prompted the Professional Fiduciary… was there some occurrence or statistic that…?
Ellie – I believe so. Fortunately, that was before my time, so I don’t really know details but I think there was a big case that was very well publicized in the Los Angeles Times. It was one of our colleagues, unfortunately, who committed a serious financial elder abuse crime towards her clients. As I said it was very well publicized and that prompted the creation of the Professional Fiduciary Bureau of Sacramento. Now everything is regulated. The licensing process is quite difficult, and I’m glad it is.
Ades – That has to be nice because that weeds out the weak and the people who aren’t serious about providing care because it’s not a 9-5 job. People don’t pass away between 9-5. People don’t get sick from 9-5. It’s a 24 hour 7 day a week commitment to someone else.
Ellie – That is correct. My telephone is on 24/7 and you’re absolutely right. It takes quite a bit of commitment and not everybody or anybody can do that. It takes a lot out of you. I just had a case last year – unfortunately my 2010 didn’t start off that well – Jan 1st it was like 3 o’clock in the morning I got a phone call from a care facility where I had one of my clients, she had passed away. You don’t pick and choose the hour and the time when something serious like this happens.
Ades – What age do you think people should be thinking about long term care for, I guess for themselves? It’s such a confusing issue because there’s so many aspects to it. Is it retirement? Is it pre-retirement? Do you meet with your children? At what point to you bring your fiduciary in? I know there’s a lot of questions in that, but there’s a lot of issues I just keep thinking about and I’m not sure where to begin.
Ellie – We are being brought into the picture at very very different time slots. For example, I’m handling a client right now who’s mentally challenged and she’s only 42 years old. Obviously there’s a need for somebody to take care of her even though she’s so young because she had certain issues. Then I have a few clients whom I call my 90s club. I have a lady who is 93 years old, I have a lady who is 95 years old and a lady who is 98 years old. So we are being brought in a various times. It depends on the situation. It is a very good idea for the younger people – when I say younger I’m shying away from the 90s club obviously – but in their 50s and 60s, no later than that, to start doing their financial planning and varies estate planning and name their successor trustees and succession line.
Ades – That was Ellie Page. To get in touch with her, call 818-623-099. Remember, the property you own, or the property you would like to buy should be carefully considered as part of an overall plan for your future. I’m Brian Ades, and I’m here to help.