If a professional fiduciary is appointed through the probate court as a conservator, the fiduciary is required to file an annual account with the court each year. This account states all of the income to the ward’s estate and all of the expenses throughout the year. In addition, the fiduciary’s charges must be approved by the court. Interested parties such as a spouse and children are entitled to receive a copy of the account.
The fiduciary is paid by the ward’s estate, usually on a monthly basis.
Typically an attorney who acts as a fiduciary will have two hourly rates. One hourly rate is a legal rate. This is what an attorney normally charges for legal work and would be charged if the fiduciary had to undertake any legal action on behalf of the individual or when he or she is filing an annual account with the court. All other work on behalf of the individual such as paying bills, selling a house or negotiating with a creditor is charged at a lower fiduciary hourly rate. In addition, attorney fiduciaries will typically bill in 1/10 segments meaning that if a letter or a phone call can be accomplished in under 6 minutes, the fiduciary will only bill a tenth of an hour for that work.
A professional fiduciary can provide as much or as little assistance as is needed. The fiduciary can help pay someone’s bills for them, manage bank accounts, ensure that taxes are filed, rent or sell a house, prevent overspending and other financial assistance. A fiduciary can also bring or defend a lawsuit against an individual and represent them in legal matters, such as setting aside a contract that an individual has entered into as a result of the person’s lack of understanding.
A professional fiduciary is someone such as an attorney or financial advisor, who can assist an individual with his or her bill paying, finances and legal matters. Often a professional fiduciary is brought in to help an elderly or incapacitated individual who does not have close family members, or whose family members lives in other states. A professional fiduciary is also helpful when there are difficult family dynamics such as children fighting over control of a parent’s finances or a family members exploiting an elderly relative.