One of the most nerve-wracking parts of fiduciary practice is determining whether or not to take a case. Often, this is done with minimal information, and a fiduciary must make an educated guess. Heartburn can be decreased, and chances of a successful administration increased, if a fiduciary can work with a team of professionals early to evaluate a case and to determine, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” This pre-conference intensive focuses on case evaluation and will be presented by a multi-disciplinary team of legal, fiduciary, financial, and real estate professionals who specialize in keeping our fiduciaries out of trouble.
Pre Conference Intensive B
Special Needs Trust Administration: Creating the Spending Plan, Making Appropriate Distributions, and Working with Difficult Beneficiaries
Administering a Special Needs Trust is one of the best services a professional fiduciary can provide. Doing a great job helps to enhance the quality of life of persons with disabilities and it is the type of service that professionals do better than non-professionals. This pre-conference intensive will assist the private professional fiduciary become a better SNT trustee by providing education and guidance on some of the most challenging duties an SNT trustee will face including creating a spending plan given available assets and lifetime care needs, understanding the do’s and don’ts of making appropriate SNT disbursements so that each is made with an understanding of the effect on public benefits, and tips in managing difficult beneficiaries and their families. This panel includes an experienced private professional fiduciary, special needs planning attorney, special needs planning financial advisor, and lifetime care manager to provide the best overview of these challenging tasks.
Review of the core competencies established by the Center for Guardianship Certification for the California professional fiduciary licensing exam. This course is taught by Russ Marshall, NMG, CLPF and certified instructor by the National Guardianship Association.
Breakout Sessions Early Bird Track – Thursday, August 6
Early Bird Track 1
Don’t Get Burned: What You Need to Know Before Delegating Your Authority to Investment Professionals
The professional fiduciary faces many challenges. Among them is deciphering the industries and rules governing the various professionals they may delegate to at times. This is especially true for the world of investments and investment professionals. It is often complex and confusing. This presentation is a pragmatic primer in what you need to know to navigate this world astutely and proficiently. You’ll learn from three experienced experts as they transform the complex into clarity and understanding. And, you’ll learn what you need to know to avoid getting burned when you delegate your authority to investment professionals.
Early Bird Track 2
Defending Yourself: Professional Fiduciary Jiu Jitsu
Participate in an interview style format with a trust attorney, a former District Attorney, and a professional fiduciary to learn some “moves” you can make to defend yourself when beneficiaries are coming after you. Even if you do it “right” you may find yourself needing this information.We will cover the legal steps in raising an estate matter from a County Superior to State Appeals, to State Supreme Court and even into federal court. While malpractice insurance is crucial, often the issues that arise in cases may not be appropriate for insurance coverage. Therefore, the focus of this presentation is on handling the variety of actions a contentious beneficiary may take when unhappy with having a neutral fiduciary involved and what you can do about it.We will cover a discussion of the Pizarro v Reynoso case and how it may or may not apply to surcharges; obtaining restraining orders; legitimate vs unwarranted inquiries; and, determining when you are really, really, out of a matter.
Early Bird Track 3
Timing & Tax Issues for Finalizing Estates & Trusts
What all fiduciaries and their advisors need to know when finalizing and closing an estate or trust to avoid errors, problems, potential litigation and most importantly - unhappy beneficiaries. This course will discuss the major errors that occur in the final years that most fiduciaries and their advisors are just not aware of until it is too late. There are major tax and timing issues that affect all estates and trusts that need to be addressed in the final year of the estate or trust.
General Sessions – Thursday, August 6
Opening General Session
Economy of Kindness: How Kindness Transforms Your Bottom Line
In this highly interactive program, Cohen helps your Fiduciary Professionals improve
communication, boost teamwork and promote interpersonal interaction through engagement and focus on cultivating a stronger culture of kindness.
Kindness in the workplace, improves staff morale, elevates workplace culture and creates loyalty from others. The size of the kindness action doesn't matter. There is often an unexpected ripple effect and giving and receiving are often experienced differently. According to research from the University of California Riverside, 40% of our happiness is determined by intentional actions, not by genes (50%) or circumstances (10%). With interactive activities that engage participants, Cohen will illustrate how kindness in action makes a difference. Cohen will share her three greatest lessons from her own personal story and how she became a "kindness catalyst".
Cohen expands the conversation around why kindness can be so crucial in a work environment and what value our individual actions can have on the culture of our organizations.
This presentation will address the legal, ethical and practical issues faced by Private Professional Fiduciaris serving as Conservator of the Estate while a Family Law proceeding is pending. We will explore these issues in the context of a case study, using the facts to highlight the legal and ethical concepts. The Honorable Judge Glen M. Reiser (retired), one of the more experienced probate judges in California, will provide his prospective on judicial expectations and important considerations.
Fiduciary Accountings – I Hate Accounting, Remind Me Why And How I Have To Do This
Court Accountings are easy! Yes, that’s right. That’s what you’ll come out of this dynamic and informative session realizing. Part 1 is a quick review of the basics: banking basics; how best to keep the records you’ll need (particularly real estate-related transactions); reconciling bank (and brokerage?) statements; software; basic nuts & bolts of accountings; and what you need to plan ahead for. Part 2 will focus on more complex aspects of accountings such as securities, and brokerage accounts for example. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one less area to worry about? (Particularly since you and your attorney may not get paid until an accounting is filed with the court and approved!) Led by the Bay Area's probate accounting expert - back by popular demand.
Attendees will learn ethical considerations is creating a schedule of fees, NGA Standards of Practice related to billing, California Rules of Court for Trustees and Conservators with criteria to be considered in determining reasonable fees.
After this presentation, attendees will have a better idea of the key issues trustees must understand and relay. The information presented is intended to clarify complex tax laws and issues so that afterward the fiduciary will be aware of the decisions which need to be made at the outset and how to best make those decisions. We will delve into the various types of trusts and salient issues which each trustee must decide by going over real life comprehensive examples and how the tax related decisions each trustee makes will impact the benefiaries.
Cognitive and Functional Assessments play an integral role in approaching a patient’s care holistically and throughout the health care continuum. In this presentation, geriatric experts Dr. Mehrdad Ayati, medical advisor to the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, Dr. Chio Choi, 10-year Occupational Therapist and faculty member of San Jose State University, and Vince Amazona, LVN and Nurse Advisor, will provide attendees an opportunity to delve into the logistics of medical assessments, their impact, as well as some of the misconceptions surrounding test results. Choi and Amazona will also discuss proper communication practices for clients with diminished capacity. In addition, Ayati, Choi, and Amazona will also discuss significant trends in the senior care industry and how functional assessments can affect the quality of life. After the informational presentations, there will be a moderated panel discussion centered on questions from the audience.
Lunchtime General Session – Thursday, August 6
Lunchtime General Session
Where's the FUN in DysFUNctional Families: Interactive Case Studies
Through interactive case studies, this panel demonstrates how Professional Fiduciaries can team up with an Aging Life Care Manager and trusted counsel to develop solutions to tricky family situations. The team will address how best to “wow” and persuade the judge to implement their solutions. The case studies will be derived from the practices and experiences of the panel and made interactive through the polling features of the conference’s Attendify app.
Knowing how to meet the court requirements to ensure that your financial plans for the conservatorship or trust are favorably viewed by the court is very important. More often than not, the Family Home is the largest asset or "last bank account". Deciding what should be done with that home is often one of the most important decisions that a conservator or Trustee will make, taking into consideration the needs of the property owner as well as the financial, medical, psychological effects that retaining or selling a home can have on the person and the estate. This presentation is designed to help you make a well informed decision to position yourself to achieve your goal of protecting the best interests of the client while at the same time providing the best care over the long term. We will provide you with information which should also better enable you to deal with many of the "twists and turns" that always seem to occur when a property is being sold, court oversight of your estate management, title issues, recalcitrant clients and even family members who, for their own reasons, may not readily agree with the course of action you have chosen.
Normal Aging or Elder Abuse? How Insufficient Staffing Can Lead to Avoidable Injuries in Assisted Living Facilities
Elder financial abuse is a considered a national epidemic. Financial institutions, including banks and financial advisors are advised to watch for “red flags” of potential exploitation and report suspected elder financial abuse. However, training to front line staff regarding financial abuse, undue influence and cognitive impairment is inconsistent. As a result, bank personnel, online banking fraud staff, and financial advisors are often uninformed about what to look for. They don’t understand that financial management is one of the first skills to go, or that elders trust people too much as a result of their cognitive decline. The presenters will explain how a lawsuit brought against the financial institution which allowed a theft or scam to occur may find some redress for an elder who has lost substantial sums to financial abuse.
Avoiding the Legal Pitfalls for Fiduciaries Involved in Home Care
Families, clients and fiduciaries face many legal risks associated with employing or engaging caregivers to allow elderly and infirm clients to remain at home. Liability risks range from on-the-job injuries and workers’ compensation to wage and hour and workplace harassment, and these risks apply whether the caregiver is employed directly by the client and/or family, or through an agency. California law firms today are suing everyone and anyone who fits within the very broad definition of “employer”. Misclassification of workers as “independent contractors” does not lessen the risk; it compounds the risk. In this presentation, you will learn about the potential pitfalls and the ways you can protect your clients, their families, and yourself from these potential sources of liability.
Trust Distributions and Drafting: Perspective From Our Gigs
Nationally recognized experts Stephen Dale, Esq. LL.M, Principal of The Dale Law Firm P.C., Executive Director of the Golden State Pooled Trust, and Peter J Wall, Director of Fiduciary Services for True Link Financial, will cover all aspects of discretionary distribution requests made from beneficiaries of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), Discretionary Trusts and Conservatorships. The session will address how and from whom such requests are made, sole benefit impact, discretionary distribution language drafting and implications, beneficiary expectation setting, distribution funding mechanisms and beneficiary-specific lifetime budgetary planning. Music and gig-themed trivia and fact patterns abound!
Probate: Soup to Nuts is a comprehensive, step by step review and explanation of the Probate process, starting with a clear identification of the duties and responsibilities of the person serving as executor or
administrator, the goals to be achieved and the alternative procedures available to meet those goals. The program will identify each milestone marking your progress as executor or administrator through the probate process and the tasks which must be completed to reach each one.
This presentation will cover best practices for handling nonprobate transfers when the documents on file with the bank conflict with the decedent's estate plan. For example, what should the fiduciary do when the person named in the beneficiary designation form for a pay-on-death account is different than the beneficiaries named under the decedent's will or trust disposing of the account. What about a general assignment that assigns all assets to a trust: does the assignment trump the bank's forms? These questions and more are answered as the speaker covers the default rules for nonprobate transfers, as well as the clear-and-convincing-evidence exception to those rules that is spawning probate litigation all across California.
Breakout Sessions Early Bird Track – Friday, August 7
Early Bird Track 4
Clients and Clutter: Resources and Strategies for Managing Clients' Personal Belongings
Fiduciaries often deal with real estate - and all the items contained therein. During this session, you will learn about the many resources and strategies available to manage the belongings of your clients, whether they’re minimalists or hoarders. Learn what the pitfalls are (and how to avoid them) so that you can ensure your clients and their items are treated with respect, compassion and efficiency. You’ll find out how to identify and assemble a team of trusted resources to support you in making sure all items in the estate are dispersed appropriately.
The presentation will discuss various environmental laws that a fiduciary needs to know about to avoid environmental liability related to property that may be in the fiduciaries portfolio or that is being considered to purchase/lease other property. Knowledge of such laws are necessary for the fiduciary for the fiduciary to avoid personal liability. The presentation will also touch on what proper environmental investigation need to be done as part of the requirements to avoid liability. We will discuss what investigation need to be done, why and how to get them done.
Early Bird Track 6
Future Shock: A Look at Fiduciary Practice Ten Years from Now, and Beyond!
What trends are occurring in our society and economy now, that will affect fiduciary practice in 2030 and beyond? How is the United States like Great Britain during the 1960s, and Japan during the 1980s? Will there be differences in the coming years, and what lessons may be used from the past? Be prepared for a discussion of 1) Population Trends and Birthrate Decline, 2) Advances (and regressions) in technology and cyber-security, 3)The housing market, and senior/assisted housing in particular, 4)Will climate change matter to seniors (and their caregivers), 5)How licensed professional fiduciaries can stay “ahead of the curve” and turn these changes into business opportunities, 6)And much more!
Breakout Sessions Track C – Friday, August 7
Helping Fiduciaries Understand the Court's Perspective
The objective of our presentation is to educate the Fiduciaries about how best to work with the courts, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to best present their matters to the court so that they can be successful in finding resolution.
Trustee Unchained: Decanting Has Come to California
This program will review California’s recently enacted version of the Uniform Trust Decanting Act. Decanting refers to the power to modify an existing trust, either by changing the terms of that trust or by distributing property from that trust to a second trust. The speaker will discuss when and how to decant, the benefits of decanting, as well as the risks and pitfalls practitioners may experience when using decanting in their practice.
California's enactment of the Revised Uniform Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) in 2018 has given fiduciaries much more power to take control of and administer digital assets. But it is far from perfect. Learn what RUFADAA does and does not do for fiduciaries, and how fiduciaries can use RUFADAA to administer the digital estate or trust. I will provide a brief explanation of digital assets, a brief history of the legislation that led up to RUFADAA, and a detailed explanation of how the law works, when it does and does not apply, and how fiduciaries can overcome barriers put up by both the service providers and the law itself.
Most people in long term care do not have the proper insurance, or eventually run out of private funds to pay for their stay. Medi-Cal is the largest public payer of long term care in the United States. In 2017, 57% of all long term care and support spending was paid by Medi-Cal/Medicaid. Does your client have too many assets to become eligible to Medi-Cal? How do you know? Do you need to find an attorney to help protect your client’s assets? Is it worth it to apply and spend-down excess assets if the Medi-Cal Share of Cost is unaffordable? How do you know if it will be unaffordable? In the presentation How Assets are Counted in the Medi-Cal Program, Paula Kluge will explain how a Share of Cost works, and what can make it cost prohibitive. You will learn how Medi-Cal looks at your client’s assets, and what kind of assets can be utilized as a shelter from skilled nursing home expenses. Did you ever wonder how a Period of Ineligibility from Medi-Cal is determined, so you could figure out a proper transfer of assets without penalizing your client? Or what hardships keep your client’s assets from being considered in the first place? Join us to hear these answers, as well as glean a better understanding of the Medi-Cal program and how assets are considered.
Best Practices for Fiduciaries: So You've Been Named Trustee; Now What?
Trust administrations can be a trap for the unwary private professional fiduciary. Even seemingly straightforward trust administrations may involve contentious beneficiaries and family discord. Often, the trustee becomes a target. This presentation is designed to educate trustees on what problem signs to look for when taking on an administration, how to set up and manage the administration to minimize potential liability and avoid claims, and what to do if and when something goes wrong. This presentation will include an open forum discussion with the audience about those issues most relevant to them.
Hoarding is a widely misunderstood though fairly common behavior. As an untreated condition, hoarding can have severe health, social and safety impacts. Cleaning out a hoard should only begin with appropriate professional assistance. Successful intervention begins with recognition and insight into the individual's behavior, and depends on a variety of factors including financial means, understanding of the psychology of the condition, and the individual’s history.
Lunchtime General Session – Friday, August 7
Lunch Time General Session
Current Issues in Conservatorships: Assuring the Best Interests of Elders and the Vulnerable are Protected
Recent media coverage regarding Fiduciary practices has led to some passionate discussion regarding Conservatorships and the Probate System in California. The “gray area” of client best interest has come under heated debate from parties who would advocate against standard Conservatorship practices as well against CA Licensed Fiduciaries. Codified Probate Court procedures and accountings can offer answers to family members and other interested parties concerned with client care. This presentation will discuss recent changes to California law and current developments in Conservatorships from the Judicial, Fiduciary, Financial and Legal perspectives. Our distinguished panel will look beyond traditional court review of Conservatorships and Court Supervised Trusts for a detailed analysis of what really occurs in client estates. Honorable David J. Cowan, Supervising Judge of the Probate and Mental Health Depts. of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, will lead the panel and offer his insights concerning recent law changes as well as pragmatic advice regarding these issues. Joining him will be Attorney Tamie Jensen, an experienced probate attorney and current President Elect of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, who will add her perspective as a long-time legal representative for Professional Fiduciaries. Rounding out the group will be Financial Advisor Scott MacDonald, an arbiter of many client conflicts who will share his unique interpretation on budget and financial issues in Conservatorships.The event will foster an interactive discussion between panel members to seek pragmatic solutions and foster better understanding of Conservatees’ best interests.
Breakout Sessions Track D – Friday, August 7
Effective Use of Substituted Judgment Petitions to Protect Your Clients
Has an incapacitated client ever asked you to prepare an estate plan, or have you been appointed conservator because “interested” parties made a mess of a conservatee’s testamentary wishes? Under the right circumstances, the Substituted Judgment procedure affords you an opportunity to solve these problems and resolve a conservatee’s testamentary wishes. In this program, we will discuss the process of filing preparing, filing and advocating for and against substituted judgment petitions. We will discuss the procedural requirements, discuss all relevant circumstances that must be evaluated, relevant ethical considerations, and discuss whether or not a neutral fiduciary should support, oppose or avoid pursing a substituted judgment proceeding.
The (Not So) Dumb Questions You are Too Scared to Ask
Synopsis: This is a panel presentation by an attorney, private professional fiduciary and certified public accountant. This presentation will cover the basics of setting up a client file, to picking the right team to assist you, as well as will answer questions about what most private professional fiduciaries think they should already know, or have questions on, but don’t necessarily want to ask their attorney or certified public accountant about.
Financial Standard of Care - With a Focus of Ethics
A comprehensive presentation setting forth the financial standard of care for the various fiduciary roles of trustee, conservator, power of attorney, and administrator of decedent's estate. The presentation addresses the ethical parameters that envelope each of these specific fiduciary duties. Throughout the presentation the panelists highlight useful practice pointers in regards to the practicalities of the financial standard of care.
Navigating the Tightrope of Trust Administration: 4 Tricky Administration Issues
Fast moving legal developments, including the semi-legalization of marijuana, the explosion of the use of cryptocurrency, and the continued development of complex environmental regulations have created unique challenges for Trust administrations holding assets affected by these issues. In addition, traditional sticky issues like the necessity to litigate against a trust beneficiary to protect trust assets present more challenges for the Trust advisor than ever before. This program will present an overview of these tricky and recurring trust administration problems and aim to help the participants understand and identify the risks associated with each of the issues described, understand what questions to ask in conducting due diligence regarding a trust administration with these issues and ways to mitigate the problems.
As the nation’s oldest and largest provider of task-trained assistance dogs serving people with physical disabilities and the people who serve them, Canine Companions for Independence is the recognized leader in the assistance dog industry. In this presentation, Canine Companions graduates and staff will provide fiduciaries information to assist in understanding industry specific terminology, accreditation standards (or lack thereof), as well as provide case studies to review some of the guidelines surrounding the use of assistance dogs.
Breakfast and a Movie – Saturday, August 8
Happy (Yes, this is a movie about happiness)
PERSON • 1.0 CEU | 1.0 MCLE
Does money make you HAPPY? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in a world that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Are we in the midst of a happiness revolution? Roko Belic, director of the Academy Award® nominated “Genghis Blues” now brings us HAPPY, a film that sets out to answer these questions and more. Taking us from the bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Namibia, from the beaches of Brazil to the villages of Okinawa, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.
Closing General Session – Saturday, August 8
Closing General Session
When Your Job Is Being The Ethical Adult In The Room
Ethical canons expressly require professional fiduciaries make decisions about “best interests” through the prism of their clients’ known ethnic, religious, social, and cultural values. Notably missing from this list is an oft-elided dynamic—many clients and their families are entrenched in dysfunction. How do you recognize and take into consideration the effect of this environment when considering your clients’ best interests? We will discuss real-life examples such as deciding whether to place a client in a professional-care setting rather than allowing care at home by a family member, or, when to pursue litigation to recover misappropriated assets from someone your client wishes to protect. Attendees will discuss how collaboration with counsel is essential to recognize, contextualize, and develop strategies to successfully and gracefully weather these ethical quandaries.
Breakout Sessions Track E – Saturday, August 8
The Sword and Shield of Elder Financial Abuse Litigation: How to Fight for and Protect Victims of Financial Abuse
In this interactive presentation, you will learn the fundamentals of elder and dependent adult financial abuse and the legal remedies available. As a fiduciary, you have legal obligations and a duty to protect your clients from financial abuse. Fortunately, the law also provides you with options to remedy past abuses and help victims recover assets. We will help you identify common signs of elder financial abuse, and understand where your obligations begin and end. You will learn what to do when you suspect elder financial abuse has occurred, how to stop ongoing abuse and protect your clients from further abuse, and when to pursue a legal case for elder or dependent adult financial abuse. Elder financial abuse cases run the gamut from the opportunistic caregivers who are “given” their patient’s debit card to the predatory financial advisors who abscond with their client’s assets. By the end of our presentation, you will be able to identify elder abuse, and have a thorough understanding of your duties and available legal actions to recover assets.
Data Security: What You Need To Know and What You Need to Do
Technology security expert and founder/CEO of True Link Financial Kai Stinchcombe provides actionable guidance on how to identify, measure, and manage data security in the operations of a fiduciary practice.
Powers Or Attorney And Health Care Directives: Duties, Liabilities And Ethical Considerations
Explanation of terminology for different types of powers of attorney and health care directives, and duties and liabilities for agent under each. Also discuss legal vs ethical obligations and discuss how to accept and protect yourself, and when to resign.
Reverse Mortgages for Forward Thinking Fiduciaries
Reverse mortgages have gotten a “bad rap” because of abuses which existed before 2000. Since then, significant protections have been enacted and reverse mortgages have become powerful asset preservation and wealth accumulation tools for elders who may come under a fiduciary’s care. Join us as we take a look at reverse mortgages and how they can form a significant part of your conservatorship, estate, and trust administration practice!
Protecting the SNT Trustee When Dealing with Courts, Public Benefit Agencies and Families
SNT Trustees are subject to an endless number of rules and regulations from a variety of sources including the courts and agencies. It is the rare trustee who does not commit some breach of trust. Laws and regulations regarding Trustee liability are continually more complex. Attempts are often made to reduce or eliminate personal liability to the Trustee. This presentation will walk through the potential pitfalls and how to identify and avoid them.
Jumpstart your first trust administration: Stuff No One Explains, Explained!
This class is designed for beginning fiduciaries. There are many administration details and steps not taught in any book that are important to do right. We will provide you a basic overview of the steps to jumpstart and set up a smooth sailing trust administration. We will review basic terminology, go step by step in the trust administration process and provide an overview of the most commonly used documents for trust administration purposes. We will touch on basic accounting principles, but this class will not discuss in detail trust accountings. This class will save you time in the future and let you rest easy you have laid a good foundation for your trust administration; leaving you with energy to handle the fun beneficiaries.